JERUSALEM, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Israel's army said on Saturday that its troops thwarted an attempted attack near the border fence with Lebanon.
The incident took place late on Friday night, it said.
Israeli troops spotted several persons approaching the border fence and then digging into the ground and cutting the fence, according to a statement issued by the army.
"The soldiers operated to stop the suspects according to standard procedures, including by firing towards their legs," the statement read, adding that following the fire the suspects retreated back to Lebanon.
The army said that initial investigations and searches in the area indicated that the action had been planned in advance and the group was apparently armed with explosives.
They "acted in a way which indicates that they intended to infiltrate into Israeli territory" and carry out an attack in the area of Metula, a city in northern Israel.
The army said the Lebanese government should be held responsible for such incidents and warned "it will bear the consequences for any attempts to harm Israeli civilians."
According to the statement, Israeli troops "are prepared in the area and ready to operate with determination as necessary in response to any attempt to violate Israeli sovereignty."
The incident came a day after dozens of people from Lebanon briefly crossed the fence into Israeli territory. Israeli tanks fired toward them, injuring and killing a man.