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Hizbollah fires new barrage at Israel, which vows to hit back

By AFP - Jun 14,2024 - Last updated at Jun 14,2024

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hizbollah group said it fired waves of rockets and drones at the Israeli forces on Thursday, after an Israeli strike killed one of its senior commanders.

It was Hizbollah’s largest simultaneous attack in near-daily cross-border fire between it and the Israeli forces since its ally Hamas’ October 7 surprise attack on Israel triggered the Gaza war.

Hizbollah fighters launched “an attack with rockets and drones, targeting six barracks and military sites” while simultaneously flying “squadrons of explosive-laden drones” at three other Israeli bases, the group said in a statement.

One of the targets was an Israeli base that Hizbollah said housed an intelligence headquarters “responsible for the assassinations”.

Hizbollah, which announced more strikes into the evening, said the attacks were “part of the response to the assassination” of Hizbollah commander Taleb Abdallah on Tuesday.

The Israeli army said about “40 projectiles were launched toward the Galilee and Golan Heights area”, adding most were intercepted while others ignited fires.

In one attack near the border village of Manara, “one IDF soldier was moderately injured and an additional soldier was lightly injured”, the military said.

The Israeli government vowed to respond strongly to all Hizbollah attacks.

“Israel will respond with force to all aggressions by Hizbollah,” government spokesman David Mencer said during a press briefing.

“Whether through diplomatic efforts or otherwise, Israel will restore security on our northern border,” he added.

In recent weeks, cross-border exchanges have escalated, with Hizbollah stepping up its use of drones to attack Israeli military positions and Israel hitting back with targeted strikes against the militants.

On Wednesday, top Hizbollah official Hashem Safieddine vowed the group would “increase the intensity, strength, quantity and quality of our attacks”, while speaking at Abdallah’s funeral.

The Israeli army confirmed it carried out the strike that “eliminated” Abdallah on Tuesday, describing him as “one of Hizbollah’s most senior commanders in southern Lebanon”.

A Lebanese military source said he was the “most important” Hizbollah commander to have been killed since the start of the war.

The cross-border violence has killed at least 468 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also including 89 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Israeli authorities say at least 15 Israeli soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed.

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