Weeks after Hezbollah flareup, Israel announces military drills near tense Lebanon border
The Israeli military announced drills near the border with Lebanon on Tuesday, weeks after an exchange of fire sharply raised tensions between the country and Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah.
The artillery drills are pre-planned and not the result of a security assessment, the military said in a statement reported by Israeli media.
They will take place in the occupied Shebaa Farms border district, with blasts expected to be heard in nearby towns.
Earlier this month, Hezbollah said it fired dozens of rockets near Israeli positions in the area - the first direct attack on Israeli territory claimed by the group since 2019.
The attack was an apparent response to an Israeli airstrike on southern Lebanon the previous day, itself the first Israeli air raids on Lebanon in seven years.
The tensions began when Israel claimed that 19 rockets were fired from Lebanon, six of which hit Israeli territory.
But after the exchange, Israeli said it did "not wish to escalate to a full war". Hezbollah echoed that de-escalatory tone but vowed a "suitable and proportionate" response to any Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon.
A 33-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006 killed 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly Lebanese civilians.
It ended with an UN-monitored ceasefire that saw the Lebanese army deployed along the border areas.
A week after the latest flareup, the Israeli army said it had shot down a Hezbollah drone that crossed into its airspace.