Israel strikes Hezbollah positions in Lebanon

Israel strikes Hezbollah positions in Lebanon

Israel strikes hezbollah positions in lebanonThe Israeli army announced on Friday that it conducted airstrikes against Iran-backed militia Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon in response to ongoing attacks on northern Israel.

The Israeli airstrike killed an elite Hezbollah commander in southern Lebanon on Monday, the latest in an escalating exchange of strikes along the border that have raised fears of another Mideast war even as the fighting in Gaza exacts a mounting toll on civilians.

Israel deepens invasion into Rafah, pounds central Gaza camps

The strike on an SUV killed a commander in a secretive Hezbollah force that operates along the border, according to a Lebanese security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations. Hezbollah identified the slain fighter as Wissam al-Tawil without providing details.

He is the most senior militant in the armed group to have been killed since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack into southern Israel triggered all-out war in Gaza and lower-intensity fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, which has escalated since an Israeli strike killed a senior Hamas leader in Beirut last week

The information could not be independently verified.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his “profound concerns” about the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Lebanon along the Blue Line, a demarcation line between both countries set by the United Nations.

“The risk for the conflict in the Middle East to widen is real – and must be avoided,” he said.

Since the start of the war in the Gaza Strip in October, there have been daily clashes between the Israeli army, Hezbollah and allied groups in the border area between Israel and Lebanon.

There have been numerous casualties on both sides. The mutual shelling caused heavy destruction in villages on either side of the border. About 150,000 people have been evacuated or have left the combat zone due to the violence.

Hezbollah is allied with the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip but is considered to be much more powerful.

Israel wants to use military and diplomatic pressure to ensure that Hezbollah retreats behind the Litani River, 30 kilometres from the border – as stipulated in an important UN resolution on the 2006 conflict.

“The parties must urgently recommit to the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 and immediately return to a cessation of hostilities,” Guterres said.

 

Hezbollah has been firing rockets at Israel in solidarity with its Palestinian ally Hamas since the Gaza war erupted in October, forcing tens of thousands to flee homes in Israel, where political pressure is building for tougher action.
Tens of thousands of Lebanese have also fled their homes following Israeli strikes in south Lebanon.
Concerned at the risk of a slide into a war that could spread across the region, U.S. President Joe Biden sent his special envoy Amos Hochstein to embark on a new round of diplomacy this week and Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israeli officials to avoid further escalation.
Hezbollah has indicated it is not seeking a wider conflict, even as it has steadily drawn on more potent weaponry.
While Israel has the most powerful army in the Middle East, Hezbollah has thousands of fighters, many with experience in the Syrian civil war, and an arsenal of tens of thousands of missiles capable of hitting cities all over Israel.
It also has a large fleet of drones, one of which appears to have carried out an extended flight over the port city of Haifa this week, underlining the potential threat to key economic infrastructure including power systems