Four Israeli soldiers injured by Hezbollah bombs inside Lebanon

<span>A Lebanese soldier and emergency responders survey an impact crater after an Israeli airstrike hit a road in southern Lebanon on Monday.</span><span>Photograph: AFP/Getty Images</span>
A Lebanese soldier and emergency responders survey an impact crater after an Israeli airstrike hit a road in southern Lebanon on Monday.Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Four Israeli soldiers have been injured inside Lebanon, one seriously, after being hit by bombs planted by Hezbollah.

The incident was confirmed by the Israel Defense Forces and came after the Lebanese Shia group said it had ambushed Israeli troops.

The IDF indicated the incident took place during “operational activity” by a Golani Brigade reconnaissance unit and combat engineering unit on the Lebanese side of the border, several hundred metres from Israel’s fence.

It appeared to be the first acknowledged breach of Lebanese sovereignty by Israeli troops on the ground to become known since the Gaza war erupted in October, leading to months of exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah.

It appears likely it is not the first time in the past six months that Israeli troops have crossed the fence into Lebanon amid its escalating border war with Hezbollah.

Israeli jets and drones, however, regularly enter Lebanon’s airspace while an Israeli assassination of a senior Hamas official in a Beirut suburb was also condemned as a breach of the country’s sovereignty.

The body of Mohammad Sarur, 57, was found riddled with bullets in a villa in the Lebanese mountain town of Beit Mery last Tuesday, and senior Lebanese officials have said that the Mossad was responsible.

Hezbollah said in a statement that its fighters had planted explosive devices in the Tel Ismail area near the border on the Lebanese side. It said that when a patrol of Israel’s Golani Brigade crossed into Lebanon and arrived in the area where the devices were planted, Hezbollah detonated them, leading to deaths and injuries.

Earlier on Monday, the military had said four soldiers were injured, one severely, as a result of an explosion of an unknown source during overnight activity along the northern border and that the incident was under review.

Israel and Hezbollah have been exchanging fire on a near daily basis since Hamas’s attack on Israel on 7 October. The ongoing conflict has killed about 270 Hezbollah fighters and an estimated 50 civilians, security sources say, and displaced 90,000 people in southern Lebanon.

About 60,000 Israelis have been evacuated from the country’s northern border area, and 18 people – civilians and soldiers – have been killed on the Israeli side of the border, according to Israeli tallies.

The latest incident in an already tense region follows a series of dangerous escalations in recent weeks after Israel hit an Iranian diplomatic compound in Damascus on 1 April prompting Iran to launch a large-scale but well-flagged drone and missile strike on Israel at the weekend.