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Israel retaliates for Hezbollah attack

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli combat planes struck a pair of Hezbollah targets inside southern Lebanon on Saturday in response to heavy fire targeting the Israeli military near Shebaa Farms, the Israeli military said. One Israeli soldier was killed, Israeli military officials said.

Hezbollah acknowledged launching a missile into a disputed area at the foot of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

"Our fighters today hit an Israeli tank inside a position they attacked in the occupied Shebaa Farms," said a report on a Hezbollah television station.

graphic Recent acts of violence in the Middle East:
 • Bombings
 • Activist deaths

Israel Defense Forces officials said their warplanes launched airstrikes in the border area and about a mile inside Lebanon.

Hezbollah said that Israeli soldiers fired back at their positions with artillery shells as well.

Israel occupied Shebaa Farms and the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. But Syria, Lebanon and Hezbollah say the area rightfully belongs to Lebanon and should have been part of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon last May.

The United Nations agrees with Israel that the area is Syrian land under Israeli occupation.

Hezbollah, considered largely responsible for forcing Israel to withdraw from its so-called "security border" in southern Lebanon, has kept up the fight, seeking the return of Shebaa to Lebanon.

A Hezbollah attack on February 16 killed one soldier and wounded two others near the border, and guerrillas captured three Israeli soldiers in the Shebaa Farms in October.

CNN Producer Shira Medding contributed to this report.

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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