Hezbollah has said that it has captured two Israeli soldiers in attacks from Lebanon on enemy border posts. The Lebanese group said on Wednesday that it had captured the pair to secure the release of detainees held in Israeli prisons.
Â “In order to fulfil a promise to free the prisoners and detainees, the Islamic Resistance captured at 9:05am [0605 GMT] two Israeli soldiers at the borders with occupied Palestine,” Hezbollah said referring to its military wing.
Â “The two prisoners were moved to a safe place,” it said.
Â Israel did not confirm the reports but said the two were missing and could have been captured.
Â Â Separately, an Israeli security source said two Israelis had been killed in cross-border attacks by Hezbollah fighters.
Â The identities of the casualties were not immediately known.
Â Lebanese security sources said Israeli aircraft retaliated by bombing a main bridge in southern Lebanon. Israel also launched a ground assault.
Â Hezbollah earlier fired dozens of Katyusha rockets and mortar bombs at Israeli border posts and a town, wounding four civilians, according to Israeli and Lebanese security sources.
Â Israeli gunners retaliated, firing salvoes of artillery shells into the outskirts of four Lebanese border villages while Israeli soldiers exchanged gunfire with guerrillas in the area.
Â The fighting apparently began when at least two rockets fired from south Lebanon exploded near Shlomi, an Israeli frontier town about 15km east of the Mediterranean coast.
Â Hezbollah fighters also attacked Israeli posts in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms area to the east, Lebanese security sources said.
Â The Hezbollah attack coincided with the Israeli invasion in Gaza, ordered partly in retaliation for the abduction by Palestinian fighters earlier this month of a soldier from a border post.