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Israeli Soldiers Killed In Renewed Fighting With Hezbollah

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There's mounting concern over fighting in two of the world's hotspots. EU foreign ministers will meet tomorrow to discuss possible new sanctions against Russia, which they blame for a surge in violence in Ukraine. We'll have more on that in a moment.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

But first, renewed fighting between Israel and Hezbollah - two Israeli soldiers were killed today when their convoy was attacked by Hezbollah on the frontier with Lebanon. Israel answered with artillery and airstrikes. A Spanish UN peacekeeper assignd to southern Lebanon died in the crossfire.

SIEGEL: The convoy attack came 10 days after an airstrike in Syria, widely attributed to Israel, that killed six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general. NPR's Emily Harris reports from Jerusalem.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: When Israeli Lior Shelef heard the first explosion Wednesday morning, he rushed outside to see what he could see.

LIOR SHELEF: Huge dark smoke, which we obviously understood had something to do with vehicles.

HARRIS: Shelef lives within sight of Lebanon.

SHELEF: A few minutes later, we already started to hear the Israeli artillery responding and the whole shenanigan of almost a war.

HARRIS: He's lived through past Israeli wars with Lebanon and Hezbollah and more recently increased exchanges of fire after almost a decade of calm in the area. Reserve Israeli major and analyst Sarit Zehari says Israel and Hezbollah are redrawing their lines in the sand.

SARIT ZEHARI: Hezbollah red lines, I guess, is trying to stop Israel from doing anything against it. Israel’s red line is not going back to action-reaction, action-reaction again and again. We want silence.

HARRIS: Despite Hezbollah suggesting today's attack was retaliation for the apparent Israeli strike that killed Hezbollah fighters in Syria last week, Zehari thinks neither side wants escalation. Still, Israel's president cut short a U.S. visit to hurry home, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says those responsible will pay, quote, “the full price.” He mentioned Iran, the Lebanese government and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad by name. Emily Harris, NPR News, Jerusalem. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.