In 2000, Hezbollah mounted a successful cross-border raid. Three Israeli soldiers: Adi Avitan, Benyamin Avraham, and Omar Sawaid were killed, and their bodies were captured. Israel released 30 Lebanese and Arab prisoners, 435 Palestinian prisoners, and the bodies of 59 Hezbollah fighters and Lebanese civilians in exchange for the remains of the three soldiers, and kidnapped Israeli reserve colonel and “shady” businessman Elchanan Tenenbaum.
Following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Shebaa farms security zone in Southern Lebanon that same year, Hezbollah fighters repeatedly infiltrated into Israeli territory to abduct IDF soldiers, and exchange them for Hezbollah and Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel. In June 2005, a unit of the Israeli Paratroopers Brigade patrolling the border identified three Lebanese it identified as members of Hezbollah’s “Special Force”, and opened fire, killing one. Hezbollah then mounted two more unsuccessful attacks against Israeli border patrols.
On 21 November 2005, Hezbollah Special Forces launched a two-pronged attack against Israeli outposts in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa farms area. A Force consisting of 30 Hizbullah fighters attacked the Gladiola outpost, which may have been a diversion maneuver. Several Israeli soldiers in the outpost, including the company commander, were injured. Hezbollah also open mortar fire on 25 military installations from Rosh Hanikra to Har Dov.
Hizbullah fired more than 300 missiles against armored vehicles and other targets. The commanding Israeli officer Udi Adam said in his after-action report, that “it was the first time that Hezbollah used its entire tactical arsenal”. Hizbollah used for the first time the advanced RPG-29 and AT-14 Kornet missiles. Two Merkava Mark-2 tanks were hit. One of the tanks was damaged but none of them was penetrated.
Meanwhile, another 20 Hezbollah fighters using motorcycles and ATVs attacked a military outpost in the border village of Ghajar, with the aim of capturing IDF prisoners. The attack was led by Hizbullah commander Muhammed Qanso (Sajid ad-Duweir), who later died in the Battle of Bint Jbeil. A Paratrooper marksman, 20-year-old Corporal David Markovitch, hit a rocket-propelled grenade being carried by the Hezbollah fighters, killing three, then shot and killed a fourth fighter. Corporal Markovitch and his family received a large amount of media attention in Israel following the incident.
Israel responded with air and artillery strikes onto Hezbollah positions in Lebanon. Israeli forces also demolished numerous Hezbollah outposts on the Lebanese half of Ghajar, and exchanged fire with Hezbollah fighters.