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Israeli soldier killed at border with Lebanon

From Nick Paton Walsh and Michael Schwartz, CNN
December 16, 2013 -- Updated 1823 GMT (0223 HKT)
A picture taken from a Lebanese village in August shows Israeli troops on the border between Lebanon and Israel.
A picture taken from a Lebanese village in August shows Israeli troops on the border between Lebanon and Israel.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Soldiers fire at "suspicious people," hitting 1, Israel Defense Forces say
  • United Nations secretary-general issues a statement deploring the shooting
  • Cross-border fire has been rare since the Israel-Hezbollah war
  • UNIFIL has been in southern Lebanon since a 1978 conflict with Israel

(CNN) -- An Israeli soldier was killed Sunday in a shooting along the Israel-Lebanon border, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The soldier was treated at the scene, then evacuated to a hospital. He later died of his wounds.

Later, around midnight, as soldiers in the area conducted an investigation, "suspicious people" were identified and "due to a threat, precise shots were fired at the suspects identified as Lebanese soldiers, and one suspect was hit," an Israel Defense Forces statement said.

Earlier Sunday, a spokesman for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, had said that a "serious shooting incident" was taking place along the Israel-Lebanon border.

It was not immediately clear who was shooting at whom, Andrea Treneti said then. Commanders from both sides were talking to the head of the UNIFIL mission to establish what happened.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's office issued a statement deploring the shooting and calling for restraint on both sides. Israeli and Lebanese forces are cooperating in the investigation, the statement said.

The soldier was shot while driving along the border near Rosh Hanikra, according to the IDF.

An initial inquiry confirmed the sniper is a member of the Lebanese Armed Forces, it said, adding that further investigation is under way.

According to the Lebanese National News Agency, army troops opened fire on Israeli soldiers near the border.

UNIFIL has been in southern Lebanon since a 1978 conflict with Israel.

After the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah militia, the peacekeepers' mandate was expanded to include helping Lebanon keep the country's south "free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons" other than government troops.

Cross-border fire has been rare since the Israel-Hezbollah war.

In late August, the Israeli air force conducted a strike in Lebanon between Beirut and Sidon, a day after rockets struck northern Israel, according to the IDF. There were no casualties.

Israel halts plan that would displace Bedouins

Syrian refugees face miserable winter in Lebanon

CNN's Kareem Khadder contributed to this report.

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