On July 27, an open fighting broke out between Israeli forces and Hezbollah for over an hour along the Israeli-Lebanese contact line. The incident became the heaviest open fighting between the sides in about a year.
The incident occurred in an area known as Chebaa Farms, which was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Israeli shelling started at around 3:30 p.m. local time and lasted for about an hour and a half. Israeli civilians living in the area were ordered to remain at their homes.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that they had repelled an infiltration attempt by a Hezbollah unit and there were no casualties among IDF forces. In own turn, pro-Hezbollah sources claimed that Hezbollah targeted a vehicle and a battle tank of the IDF with anti-tank guided missiles.
The exchange of fire came as the IDF was on heightened alert for a possible attack by Hezbollah, after an Israeli airstrike in Syria killed a Hezbollah member earlier in July.
During the past years, Israel carried out dozens of strikes on Syria claiming that they were aimed at undermining Hezbollah and Iranian presence there. Despite this, the Israeli efforts led to a contrary situation when Hezbollah and Iran strengthened their positions in the country thanks to a close cooperation with the Damascus government that restored control over large parts of the country. The presence of Syrian forces and thus Hezbollah and Iranian forces in southern Syria, near the occupied Golan Heights, is the source of the special concern among the Israeli leadership.