ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Residents of northern-most community Metula advised to leave

Missiles fired from Lebanon, mortars launched from Syria as northern front heats up

IDF shells 3 Hezbollah posts after 15 rockets, anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon; military strikes Syria targets in response to mortar fire; no Israeli injuries reported

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Smoke rises from Israeli shelling, in the Aita al-Shaab village, south Lebanon, October 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)
Smoke rises from Israeli shelling, in the Aita al-Shaab village, south Lebanon, October 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Missiles were launched at northern Israel from both Lebanon and Syria on Tuesday, with the Israeli military shelling posts in both nations in response, as fighting continued in southern Israel in the wake of a major attack launched by the Palestinian Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces said 15 rockets were fired from Lebanon at the Western Galilee, setting off sirens in several towns. Four projectiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, while the rest landed in open areas, causing no damage or injuries, the IDF said.

The military initially said in a statement that it had launched artillery strikes in response to the rocket attack, and in a later statement, said tanks had shelled two posts belonging to the Hezbollah terror group.

A short while later, an anti-tank guided missile was launched from Lebanon at an armored vehicle near the northern town of Avivim, the IDF said. No soldiers were wounded. The military said a combat helicopter struck a third Hezbollah post in response to that attack.

“The IDF is prepared for all scenarios and will continue to protect the residents of the State of Israel,” the military said in a statement.

Hamas later claimed responsibility for the rocket fire, and Hezbollah said it had carried out the ATGM attack.

An IDF soldier drives an armored vehicle along a street near the northern town of Kiryat Shmona close to the border with Lebanon on October 10, 2023. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)

Later Tuesday, a number of mortars were fired from Syria at the Golan Heights. The IDF said several of the projectiles crossed into Israeli territory and landed in open areas, causing no damage.

The IDF said it carried out artillery strikes in Syria in response, targeting the origin of the mortar fire.

The attacks came a day after Israeli forces clashed with terrorists on the Lebanon border. The clashes left three Israeli soldiers and two Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists dead.

Three Hezbollah members were killed in Israel’s retaliatory bombing against the terror group’s sites.

Tuesday’s rocket fire came following the funerals of two of the slain Hezbollah members.

Hezbollah supporters carry the coffins of two members who were killed by Israeli shelling, during their funeral procession in Kherbet Selem village, south Lebanon, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Both before and after Monday’s clashes, several mortar shells were fired at Israel from southern Lebanon. The IDF responded to those attacks with artillery fire.

On Sunday morning, Hezbollah launched dozens of rockets at three Israeli positions in the contested Mount Dov region, causing damage but no injuries.

Hezbollah claimed to have fired the rockets in solidarity with the Hamas attack in southern Israel.

Hezbollah has largely sat out previous rounds of fighting between Israel and Palestinian terror groups, though it allowed local Palestinian factions to operate out of its territory in southern Lebanon.

But some fear the Lebanon-based terror group will open up a second front amid the war triggered by Saturday’s unprecedented invasion of Israel by hundreds of Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip.

Amid the tensions in northern Israel, many residents of towns close to the border with Lebanon have left their homes over the past day, fearing further rocket attacks.

On Tuesday night, officials in Israel’s northern-most community of Metula urged residents to leave, fearing they could find themselves targeted if Hezbollah launched an assault against Israel.

“In light of a situational assessment and the potential for escalation here, we are beseeching you to leave,” the town’s security team said in a message.

It said those who can’t independently evacuate or can’t arrange alternative lodging will get help in doing so.

Tuesday’s rocket fire from Lebanon came as hundreds of rockets continued to be launched from the Gaza Strip at southern and central Israel.

Rockets are fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

On Saturday morning, Palestinian terrorists rampaged through the south of the country, killing nearly 1,000 people, including hundreds of civilians, injuring over 2,500, and taking at least 100 captives to Gaza.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah erected two tents in the Mount Dov area on the border some months ago, but later took one down and threatened to attack if Israel took steps to forcibly dismantle the other one.

On Sunday, a military source said the tent was struck in a drone strike, and warning shots were fired later toward Hezbollah members who were attempting to rebuild it.

View of a Hezbollah tent that was erected on the Israeli side of the Blue Line, as seen from the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon, on August 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Israel and Lebanon largely abide by the UN-recognized Blue Line. The line is marked with blue barrels along the border and in some areas is several meters from the Israeli fence, which is built entirely within Israeli territory.

Tensions were already high with Hezbollah in recent months, with the deployment of dozens of Hezbollah posts along the Lebanese border, including the tent, and increasing patrols and presence by terror group operatives in the area.

Other recent incidents on the Lebanese border have included camouflaged Hezbollah members walking along the border in violation of a UN resolution, and Hezbollah activists crossing the Blue Line (though not the Israeli border fence) on numerous occasions, including attempts to damage the border fence and army surveillance equipment.

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