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14 Feb, 2024 12:28

Israel launches ‘series of airstrikes’ on Lebanon

The attack came hours after a civilian was killed by a rocket fired from its northern neighbor
Israel launches ‘series of airstrikes’ on Lebanon

Israel said on Wednesday that it has begun a “series of strikes” in Lebanon, in a move that will likely elevate fears of a major military confrontation between the neighbors, following months of cross-border violence.

The Israeli military did not immediately offer further details of the airstrikes, which came hours after at least one person was killed and a further seven were injured in a rocket attack launched from Lebanon.

Footage circulating on social media appears to show areas in the south of Lebanon damaged by the strikes, including in Nabatieh Governorate – deeper into Lebanese territory than many previous attacks.

Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group that has had near-daily exchanges of fire with Israeli forces since the onset of the war in Gaza four months ago, did not immediately claim responsibility for the rocket attacks earlier on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah said rockets fired from Lebanese territory would end “when the attack on Gaza stops and there is a ceasefire” between its Palestinian allies and Israel.

“If they [Israel] broaden the confrontation, we will do the same,” Nasrallah declared in a televised statement.

Wednesday’s airstrikes in Lebanon come amid warnings from global leaders of an expanded conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Over the past several months, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from both sides of the Israel-Lebanon frontier due to waves of cross-border fire.

At least 243 people, mostly Hezbollah fighters but also 30 civilians, have been killed by Israeli strikes in Lebanon since the Hamas attack on October 7 that inflamed regional tensions, the AFP said.

Nine Israeli soldiers and six civilians have also been killed, according to official figures.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, is generally considered to be a more robust fighting force than Hamas, while also being one of the most influential political factions in Lebanon. According to the group’s leadership, Hezbollah has about 100,000 fighters within its ranks – a figure that exceeds Lebanon’s official state military.

According to Lebanese media outlet Al-Mayadeen, a mother and her two children were killed by the airstrikes in the town of Souaneh.