Israel launches deadly airstrikes in Lebanon after rockets hit military

Israel launches deadly airstrikes in Lebanon after rockets hit military base

February 14, 2024

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The rocket attack from Lebanon targeted several areas in northern Israel, including the city of Safed

At least seven civilians have been killed in Israeli strikes in Lebanon after Hezbollah rocket fire killed a soldier in Israel, security sources said.

A woman and two children were killed in Souaneh, and at least four family members were later killed in Nabatea.

At least two Hezbollah fighters were also killed in attacks in southern Lebanon, the group said.

The Israeli military said it attacked Hezbollah's infrastructure in response to a deadly rocket attack in northern Israel.

Since the war between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in the Gaza Strip began in October, there have been almost daily exchanges of fire between Hezbollah fighters and Israeli forces along the border.

The clashes have raised fears of a wider regional conflict.

Sirens wailed in northern Israel on Wednesday morning as rocket fire was fired at the border communities of Netua and Manara, as well as the city of Safed, 14 km (9 miles) south of the border.

An Israeli soldier was killed and seven others injured after their base in Safed was hit by rockets, Israeli media and emergency services said. The deceased soldier was later identified as Staff Sergeant Omer Sarah Benjo.

A video showed another rocket hitting near the gate of Safed's hospital.

Hezbollah later claimed it had attacked a “hostile position” in Safed “in support of the people and resistance in Gaza, which is facing brutal Zionist aggression with the US green light.”

In the afternoon, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced that fighter jets had struck “a number of Hezbollah terrorist targets” in Souaneh, Aadchit, Jabal al-Braij, Kfar Houneh and Kfar Dunin in response to rocket fire.

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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said it would only stop firing “when the aggression stops and there is a ceasefire in Gaza.”

“Targets attacked included military sites, operational control rooms and terror infrastructure,” it said, adding that several targets belonged to Hezbollah's elite Radwan Force, whose highly trained members are considered the group's special forces.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency (NNA) said a Syrian woman, Rawaa al-Mohammed, and her two sons, Hassan Mohsen, 13, and Amir Mohsen, two, were killed in an attack on a house in Souaneh.

Video from the city showed residents inspecting the rubble of at least one destroyed building and the burned-out wreckage of a car.

NNA also reported that one man was killed and ten other people were injured in Aadchit. The dead man was Hassan Ali Najm, a Hezbollah fighter whose death the group confirmed in a statement on Telegram.

Later on Wednesday, a security source told AFP that four members of the same family, including two women, were killed in a subsequent attack. The source said they had no ties to Hezbollah.

“As we have made clear again and again, Israel is not interested in a war on two fronts. But if we are provoked, we will respond forcefully,” Israeli government spokeswoman Ilana Stein told Portal.

“The current reality in which tens of thousands of Israelis are displaced [in the north] and not being able to return to their homes is unbearable. They must be able to return home and live in peace and security.”

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, meanwhile, told northern municipal leaders: “The attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon has achieved great success, but we continue – this is not the time to stop.”

“We are constantly intensifying attacks and Hezbollah is paying an ever-increasing price.”

On Tuesday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel's leadership in a speech that a war against the group would result in “a million evacuees” from northern Israel.

“To those who threaten us with expanding the war: If you expand the war, we will too,” he said, adding that “those who think the resistance might be afraid are very mistaken.”

He also promised that Hezbollah would only cease fire “when the aggression stops and there is a ceasefire in Gaza.”