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Israel: Lebanon blast shows Hezbollah stocking weapons

  • Story Highlights
  • Israeli military detects large explosion in village in southern Lebanon
  • Building was used to store "mortars, rockets, ammunition," military says
  • Israel claims village serves as a base for militant group Hezbollah
  • Lebanese authorities say blast occurred in uninhabited house, nobody hurt
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- An explosion in southern Lebanon indicates that the militant group Hezbollah continues to store weapons near the Israeli border, the Israeli military claimed Wednesday.

"Yesterday we detected a big explosion in a southern Lebanese village just across the northern Israeli border, " Israeli Brig. Gen. Aviv Kochavi told CNN Wednesday, referring to an incident on Tuesday. "We heard the explosion and then we saw the smoke," he said, adding that then "by aerial means we investigated more closely."

He said the building was used for storing "lots of mortars, rockets and other kinds of ammunition."

Lebanese authorities told CNN: "An explosion took place in an uninhabited house in Khirbet Salim, southern Lebanon. No one was hurt. It was an ammunition fire due to the humidity and high temperatures."

The United Nations mission in Lebanon, UNIFIL, told CNN a series of explosions had been heard in the region and that they were sending a team to investigate.

UNIFIL later said in a statement its force commander met with the Lebanese prime minister and the commander of the Lebanese army to update them about the ammunition discovered following the blasts. Lebanese officials and UNIFIL have cordoned off the area and the investigation continued, the statement said.

"Based on the information currently available, UNIFIL considers this incident a serious violation of Security Council resolution 1701, notably the provision that there should be no presence of unauthorized assets or weapons in the area of operation between the Litani River and the Blue Line," UNIFIL said in the statement. "UNIFIL has informed the United Nation's headquarters of the incident and is keeping the parties informed."

Kochavi said, "This area is dominated by Hezbollah. This village serves as a base for a massive and intensive process of armament."

He said the explosion was "was not an Israeli operation."

CNN's Kevin Flower in Jerusalem and Cal Perry and Nada Husseini in Beirut, Lebanon contributed to this report.

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