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Israel-Hamas war: IDF launches retaliatory attacks at Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon

In a separate incident, an Israeli drone fired two missiles at an aluminum plant outside the southern Lebanese market town of Nabatiyeh. Hezbollah has conducted daily assaults on Israeli troops since the October 7 attack by Hamas.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Beirut Published on: November 19, 2023 10:12 IST
Israel has launched attacks on southern Lebanon in its
Image Source : AP Israel has launched attacks on southern Lebanon in its fighting against Hezbollah.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) on early Sunday said that its fighter jets and tanks struck additional Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon in retaliation to repeated attacks on its troops in northern Israel.

The military said that it destroyed several Hezbollah targets, including a military compound and observation posts belonging to the Lebanon-based groups. It also claimed to carry out a drone strike on a Hezbollah cell that was preparing another attack.

On the previous day, Lebanon's National News Agency said that an Israeli drone fired two missiles at an aluminum plant outside the southern Lebanese market town of Nabatiyeh, causing a blaze and widespread damage. The Israeli military did not confirm any strikes in Lebanon overnight. No casualties have been reported so far.

According to an op-ed in the Washington Post, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came close to launching a preemptive strike against Hezbollah in Lebanon, as concerns mounted over Iran and its proxies exploiting Israel's current disorientation.

Cross-border skirmishes between Israel and Hezbollah

On Friday, four Israelis were injured in an anti-tank missile attack launched by Hezbollah. The military said a barrage on Saturday included some 25 rockets, setting off sirens in the towns of Sassa and Shtula. The projectiles all landed in open areas. Hours later, the IDF confirmed rockets were also fired from Lebanon at Kiryat Shmona and army posts along the border, reported The Times of Israel.

Last week, at least 21 people, including 14 civilians and seven IDF personnel, were wounded in an anti-tank missile attack by the Hezbollah group targeting Israeli troops near the Lebanon-Israel border. 

The clashes came as skirmishes between the Iran-backed group and the Israeli military continued to intensify along the Lebanon-Israel border, threatening to escalate into another front in the Middle East's ongoing war. A civilian was seriously wounded in the missile attack.

Israel's preparations against Hezbollah

During a visit to northern Israel on Saturday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that the IDF was working along the border with Lebanon to actively strike Hezbollah targets and return security to the area.

Gallant said in a statement that the military was “carrying out a policy of active defense, exacting a price against every threat, in the air and on the ground”. He said the IDF was responding to missiles and rockets fired by Hezbollah and also striking the terror group’s infrastructure.

“Our goal is to make residents of the north feel safe — this process will take a little more time but we will get there,” said the Israel Defence Minister.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah has conducted daily assaults on Israel’s northern border from Lebanon since the unprecedented and brutal attack by Hamas on October 7 but stopped short of launching a full-scale campaign. 

Three civilians and six IDF soldiers have died in the persistent cross-border skirmishes. On the Lebanese side, nearly 100 have been killed. The toll includes at least 74 Hezbollah members, eight Palestinian terrorists, a number of civilians and a journalist.

ALSO READ | Israel-Hamas war: Telecom services return to Gaza, but situation in Al Shifa Hospital still grave I Key Points

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