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Israeli army says it killed bomber suspected of coming from Lebanon

Investigations underway to determine if suspect has links to Lebanese Hezbollah organisation
Israeli armoured military vehicles and humvees patrol along the border with Lebanon near the northern kibbutz of Bar'am on 15 March 2023.
Israeli armoured military vehicles and humvees patrol along the border with Lebanon near the northern kibbutz of Bar'am, on 15 March 2023 (AFP)

The Israeli army announced on Wednesday that they shot dead a man shortly after a roadside bomb seriously wounded an Israeli civilian in northern Israel.

The army did not reveal details about the individual but said he likely infiltrated the country from southern Lebanon and were investigating whether he had connections to the Lebanese movement Hezbollah, which fought a month-long war against Israel in 2006.

The army said that after planting the roadside bomb adjacent to the Megiddo Junction on Monday, the man flagged down a car and was later caught at a checkpoint in the town of Yara, close to the border with Lebanon.

Officials said that security forces shot him dead because he was carrying a gun and an explosive belt and had posed a threat to officers at the scene.

The army said it is questioning the driver.

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A joint statement between the army, the police, and the Israeli General Security Service indicated an "extensive investigation is underway about the sabotage operation and the extent of Hezbollah's involvement in it".

There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah.

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In a Twitter thread, Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adraei published video clips, including a clip showing Israeli forces combing the area.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short his trip to Germany over "developments in national security", the prime minister's office said, without going into further detail, as reported by Israeli media.

The incident threatens renewed hostility between Israel and Hezbollah, which are bitter enemies.

During a speech to reservists, the Israeli army chief of staff Herzi Halevy said: "We look at Hezbollah, we see their efforts to build strength, and above all, we understand that we need to prepare, we must be ready in the coming years, for a multilateral attack in which Iran will participate."

Israel considers the Iran-backed group its most serious immediate threat, estimating that Hezbollah has 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel.

Israel also frequently attacks targets in Syria, claiming they are Iranian weapons deliveries headed to the Lebanese group.

Tensions have also remained high in Israel and Palestine in recent months, as attacks against the Palestinians have intensified.

Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in a shoot-out near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus last week.

The latest shootout brought the death toll of Palestinians killed by Israelis this year to at least 81, including 15 children. It's the bloodiest start to a year since 2000, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

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