Israeli commandos carried out a raid on a Hezbollah stronghold deep inside Lebanon on Saturday, in the first major incident since a fragile ceasefire took effect, as French troops began deploying to reinforce UN peacekeepers.
A Lebanese military official said that Israeli helicopters, under the cover of mock raids by warplanes, landed two Hummer vehicles in the mountainous region of Afqa, about 30 kilometres east of Baalbek, a Hezbollah stronghold.
Commandos then drove eastward to the nearby village of Buday where they clashed with Hezbollah guerrillas, he said.
The Israeli army confirmed the raid, saying it was to prevent arms being delivered to Hezbollah by Iran and Syria and vowing to continue such operations.
"Israeli army special forces operated deep inside Lebanon last night to foil terrorist operations against Israel," an army spokesman said.
"The operation was aimed at preventing the delivery of weapons to Hezbollah from Iran and Syria," he said, adding, "All goals were achieved".
"In the absence of a system monitoring the border (between Syria and Lebanon), Israel will continue operations to prevent the transfer of arms to Hezbollah," the army spokesman said.
Today's raid marks the first major clash between the two sides since a ceasefire took effect on Monday.
There were exchanges of fire earlier this week that left at least four Hezbollah fighters dead, but both sides had underplayed the clashes.