Hezbollah attack draws stern response from Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning that Israel could retaliate harshly — citing the summer war with Gaza as an example of the magnitude of retaliation that Israel could unleash — after a Hezbollah attack on an Israeli army convoy.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven were wounded when a Hezbollah anti-tank missile struck an Israel Defense Forces patrol on the Israel-Lebanon border on Jan. 28.

photo/jta-flash90-basal awidat Israeli medics tend to soldiers injured by Hezbollah missile fire on Jan. 28.

In response to the attack, the IDF hit southern Lebanon with artillery strikes, killing a Spanish soldier serving in UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping force.

“Those behind the attack today will pay the full price,” Netanyahu said as he launched consultations with security chiefs on a possible further response.

“To everyone who is trying to challenge us at the northern border, I recommend for them to look what happened there, not far from the city of Sderot, in Gaza,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony in the southern city of Sderot. “Hamas took its hardest hit since its formation and the IDF is prepared to act strongly on all fronts.”

The attack by Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist group, came hours after the IDF struck a Syrian artillery post controlled by Syrian President Bashar Assad, scoring direct hits. Those strikes were in response to two rockets that hit the Golan Heights on Jan. 27.

Zionist Camp co-chair and member of Knesset Tzipi Livni toured the border on Jan. 28.

“At this time it should be clear to all: Whether this [attack] is Iran acting through Hezbollah, or whether it is the Syrians, an attack on soldiers or civilians will be answered harshly and without compromise by the IDF,” Livni said in the Israeli daily Haaretz. “Hezbollah is part of the extreme Islamist axis in the Middle East and it must be dealt with by force, and the IDF and its soldiers know how to do this precisely and responsibly.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, “The firing of rockets at our sovereign territory should be responded to harshly and disproportionately, just as China or the U.S. would in similar circumstances.” — j. wire reports