Middle EastTerrorismWar

Hezbollah Targets Israeli Barracks After Islamist Commander’s Death

Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group said Sunday it had targeted two military positions in northern Israel with an armed drone in response to the killing of an Islamist commander.

For almost two weeks, tensions and cross-border fire have escalated, along with bellicose rhetoric, raising fears of a wider Middle East war.

Israel and the powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, had already been exchanging near-daily cross-border fire since the Gaza war erupted on October 7.

Hezbollah’s announcement of the latest cross-border attacks came hours after it published a video excerpt purporting to show locations in Israel along with their coordinates.

On Saturday, another armed group, Jamaa Islamiya, announced the death of one of its commanders, Ayman Ghotmeh, saying he was killed in a “Zionist raid” in Khiara, in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa area near Syria.

Israel later confirmed it had carried out the strike, saying Ghotmeh was responsible for supplying the Fajr Forces, Jamaa Islamiya’s armed wing, and Hamas with weapons in the area.

Hezbollah on Sunday said its fighters launched a strike “with an attack drone” on a military leadership position in northern Israel’s Beit Hillel barracks “in response to the assassination carried out by the Israeli enemy in the town of Khiara.”

The Israeli military said in a statement that a drone had “crossed from Lebanon and fell in the area of Beit Hillel” but “no injuries were reported.”

‘Severely Wounded’

Hezbollah later said it had also struck further south into Israel. A “squadron of assault drones” targeted the “headquarters of the newly created 91st Division in Ayelet Hashahar” near the Israeli city of Safed, it said.

Israel’s military said one of its soldiers “was severely wounded” as a result of a drone strike and taken to hospital for treatment.

On Tuesday the Israeli military had announced that plans for an offensive in Lebanon had been “approved and validated,” after which Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said no part of Israel would be spared in the event of an all-out war.

Hezbollah on Saturday evening published a video showing Israeli positions and coordinates, along with an excerpt of Nasrallah’s speech in which he says “if war is imposed on Lebanon, the resistance will fight without restrictions or rules.”

Days earlier, it had circulated a nine-minute video showing aerial footage purportedly taken by the movement over northern Israel, including what it said were sensitive military, defense, and energy facilities and infrastructure in the city and port of Haifa.

The cross-border violence has killed at least 480 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also 93 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Israeli authorities say at least 15 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed in the country’s north.

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