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UN peacekeeper killed after Hezbollah-Israel clash Three killed as Israel and Hezbollah trade fire
(about 1 hour later)
The UN says a peacekeeper has been killed in Lebanon amid border clashes between Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Israeli army. Two Israeli soldiers and a Spanish UN peacekeeper have been killed as Hezbollah militants trade fire with Israeli troops on the Lebanese border.
The UN urged "maximum restraint" from all parties to avoid further escalation. A spokesman for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) urged "maximum restraint to prevent an escalation".
Four Israeli soldiers were injured when an anti-tank missile hit an army vehicle in the disputed Shebaa Farms area, military officials said. The peacekeeper was killed close to the disputed Shebaa Farms area, where an Israeli convoy was earlier hit by anti-tank missiles, killing two soldiers.
The Israeli army responded by firing shells into southern Lebanon. The Israeli military responded by firing shells into southern Lebanon.
The Israel Defence Forces said on Twitter that initial reports suggested that an anti-tank missile was fired at a military vehicle near Mt Dov. Hezbollah said it carried out the missile attack in retaliation for an Israeli air strike that killed six of its fighters and an Iranian Revolutionary Guards general in the Syrian Golan Heights 10 days ago.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: "At this moment the IDF responds to events in the North. We will not allow terrorists to disrupt the lives of our citizens and threaten their security. We will respond forcefully those who try to challenge us."
Israel has ruled out the abduction of any troops.
Residents in the Israeli border town of Metullah have been ordered to remain in their houses while operations continue in the surrounding area.
In a statement, Hezbollah said that its fighters had destroyed a number of Israeli vehicles and that there were "several casualties in the enemy ranks".
Mortar bombs
Following the attack, the Israeli Defence Forces said it had responded with "combined aerial and ground strikes at Hezbollah operational positions."
At least 50 shells fired from Israel hit farmland in southern Lebanon close to the frontier, according to the Associated Press news agency.
Later on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the UN, Andrea Tenenti, confirmed that a UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeeper had been killed in the region.
He said that he was unable to specify the source of fire that killed the soldier.
Mr Tenenti added: "UNIFIL Force Commander Major General Luciano Portolano is in close contact with all the parties, urging maximum restraint to prevent an escalation."
In a separate incident, a mortar bomb attack targeted Israeli military positions in the Golan Heights on Wednesday.
The Israeli army did not report any casualties but said that it was evacuating civilians from the area.
Both incidents came just hours after Israel launched an air strike on Syrian army positions near the Golan Heights in retaliation for rockets that were fired into Israel on Monday.
Tension has been growing in the border region after an Israeli air strike killed an Iranian general and several Hezbollah fighters in Syria.
Reports said Israel had information that members of the group were planning to carry out attacks inside Israel.