Militant group Hezbollah attacked Israeli army positions near the border with Lebanon, killing at least one person, in the latest deadly violence in Israel’s north as it prepares a ground offensive on Gaza to the south.
(Bloomberg) — Militant group Hezbollah attacked Israeli army positions near the border with Lebanon, killing at least one person, in the latest deadly violence in Israel’s north as it prepares a ground offensive on Gaza to the south.
Iran-backed Hezbollah, one of the Middle East’s most powerful militias, said it fired guided missiles against an Israeli army post in Shtula in Upper Galilee. An hour later, it said it targeted another post in Al-Raheb with “live ammunition” and destroyed a tank.
It said the attacks were in retaliation for the killing of two Lebanese nationals in Shebaa Farms and a Reuters reporter near the southern village of Alma Al-Shaab last week. Shebaa Farms is land claimed by both Lebanon and Syria that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
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One Israeli was killed and three others wounded in the initial attack in Shtula, according to Israel’s rescue service. Israel’s army said it struck Hezbollah military targets in response to the three anti-tank missile assaults and has sealed off an area up to 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the Lebanese border.
Hezbollah and Israel have traded fire along the frontier since Oct. 8, a day after fighters from Palestinian militant group Hamas infiltrated Israeli territory by land, sea and air in an unprecedented attack, killing 1,200 people and abducting others.
The clashes around Lebanon have raised the prospect of a wider regional escalation as Israel prepares to conduct ground operations in the Gaza Strip that it says will “wipe out” Hamas, which the US and Europe describe as a terrorist group. Days of Israeli airstrikes on besieged Gaza have killed more than 2,300 people and injured thousands more, according to local officials.
Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television channel showed footage of a hilltop it described as the Al-Raheb post, saying fighters had erected the group’s flag. There was no confirmation from the Israeli side that the post had been taken by Hezbollah members. Israel is also shelling a number of Lebanese villages on the border, according to local reports.
–With assistance from Galit Altstein.
(Updates with no confirmation from Israel on Hezbollah claim in final paragraph.)
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