Fighting flares up once again between Israelis and Hezbollah

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JERUSALEM — The Islamic fundamentalist Hezbollah movement is showing that it has no intention of halting attacks on Israeli soldiers and their allies in southern Lebanon.

Clashes between Israeli forces and Hezbollah gunmen continue to erupt — some two weeks after a cease-fire was achieved — in Israel's southern Lebanon security zone.

On Wednesday, an Israeli soldier was wounded in a Hezbollah attack in the security zone.

On Sunday, five Israeli soldiers were wounded, one of them seriously, in two separate Hezbollah attacks in southern Lebanon.

In that clash, Israel Defense Force officer was seriously wounded when an anti-tank rocket fired by Hezbollah hit a patrol in the northeastern sector of the security zone.

In a second incident, four other IDF soldiers were wounded, two moderately and two lightly, by shrapnel from mortar shells fired by members of Hezbollah at an IDF outpost in the area.

The IDF responded by shelling Hezbollah positions north of the security zone. Israeli warplanes attacked Hezbollah targets in the eastern sector of the zone.

Friday of last week saw the first Hezbollah attack in the security zone since the April 27 cease-fire went into effect. Hezbollah members detonated roadside explosives, killing a soldier from the Israel-allied South Lebanese Army and wounding two others.

Israeli military sources said Hezbollah had resumed its attacks to show that it remained undeterred by the cease-fire agreement.

Six Israeli soldiers have been wounded since the cease-fire took effect.

The agreement bars attacks on Lebanese and Israeli civilian populations, but does not prohibit fighting between Hezbollah and the IDF within the security zone.

On Friday of last week diplomats from the five nations responsible for monitoring the cease-fire held their first meeting in Washington, D.C.

The five — the United States, Israel, France, Syria and Lebanon — met for three hours, but failed to agree on monitoring arrangements.

The delegates were scheduled to meet again this week. Syrian officials in Damascus accused Israel over the weekend of trying to turn the monitoring committee into an alternative channel for regional peace talks.

Syria and Lebanon reportedly favor an arrangement that would limit the groups activities to watching only military aspects of the cease-fire.

They said the United States should push for a resumption of the Israeli-Syrian talks, which were suspended after a wave of suicide bombings in Israel in late February and early March.

Israel and the United States reportedly want the monitoring group to eye economic and political considerations.