The Israel Defense Forces claimed on the Twitter page about some strikes after launching from Lebanon anti-tank missiles in the north of the country. No details on any damage or casualties as residents near border ordered to stay inside.

Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah TV channel, al-Mayadeen, cited the militant group as saying the attack had destroyed a “military vehicle” in the northern Israel town of Avivim. The news channel added there were “deaths and injuries”, something Israel did not confirm.

Israel has been bracing for a possible attack by its long-time foe, Hezbollah, after the group’s leadership accused Israel of attempting to attack it with two drones on Sunday in southern Beirut, a stronghold of the militant organisation.

Israeli television said the army had ordered residents near the border to remain inside and for shelters to be opened.

Hezbollah’s deputy leader said this week that his forces would launch a “surprise” retaliatory strike against Israel.

“I rule out that the atmosphere is one of war, it is one of a response to an attack,” Sheikh Naim Qassem said in a TV interview on Tuesday night. “Everything will be decided at its time.”

Israel has not claimed the Beirut strikes but two western diplomats said the rare operation may have been an assassination attempt or an effort to destroy equipment for fitting advanced guidance systems to rudimentary rockets.

Neither Israel nor Hezbollah has expressed an interest in a return to war, having fought a deadly month-long conflict in 2006 that killed about 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and roughly 160 in Israel.

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