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Israel Strikes Deep Inside Lebanon After Hezbollah Takes Out Drone

Reuters
Reuters

Israeli fighter jets on Monday carried out strikes in eastern Lebanon for the first time since its conflict with Hezbollah dramatically escalated amid the parallel war in Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it hit Hezbollah air defenses in the Bekaa Valley in response to an Israeli Hermes-450 drone being shot down by a surface-to-air missile earlier in the day. At least two Hezbollah militants were killed in the reprisal strikes, Lebanese sources told Reuters.

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The Israeli strikes represent the deepest attacks inside Lebanese territory since Hezbollah began exchanging fire with troops across Israel’s northern border after the Gaza war began. Targets were hit near Baalbek, a city known for its ancient ruins not far from the Syrian border, as simultaneous strikes were reportedly launched.

Hassan Fadlallah, a Hezbollah politician, said in televised comments that Israel’s “aggression on Baalbek or any other areas will not remain without response.” Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV reported that a car in southern Lebanon had also been hit by another Israeli strike, with a security source claiming that at least one person had died.

“The IDF will continue operating to defend the State of Israel from the threat of Hezbollah terrorist organization, including in aerial operations above Lebanese territory,” the Israeli military said in a statement.

Hezbollah claimed it had successfully shot down the Israeli drone over southern Lebanon. Another missile launched at the drone by the Iran-aligned group was intercepted by Israel, according to Al Jazeera, with the wreckage falling close to a synagogue in a town near Nazareth in the north of Israel. No one was injured and no damage was caused.

Since the cross-border skirmishes began, around 50 civilians have died in Lebanon along with an estimated 200 Hezbollah militants. Five civilians and around a dozen Israeli soldiers have died on the southern side of the border.

The violence began when Israel launched its war in Gaza in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attacks which, according to Israeli figures, left 1,200 people dead. Almost 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza during the conflict, according to Palestinian health officials, while nearly 2 million residents have been displaced.

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