3 lightly hurt in rocket barrage from Lebanon; air force shoots down drone over Acre

IDF says 15 rockets fired as Iron Dome shoots down missiles in Upper Galilee; Hezbollah says one dead, one hurt in alleged Israeli drone strike in southern Lebanon’s Naqoura

Illustrative - Rockets fired from southern Lebanon are intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome air defense system over the Golan Heights on May 16, 2024. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)
Illustrative - Rockets fired from southern Lebanon are intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome air defense system over the Golan Heights on May 16, 2024. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

Three people were lightly hurt following a rocket barrage on the Upper Galilee on Friday afternoon, medics said, as the Iron Dome air defense system intercepted multiple projectiles launched from Lebanon.

Magen David Adom paramedics said a 26-year-old man was lightly hurt by glass shards, while a 66-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman were also lightly injured on their way to a protected area in the Upper Galilee. A 43-year-old man was also being treated for shock following the barrage, according to medics.

The shards came from a car that was hit, possibly by shrapnel, MDA said, adding that the casualties were evacuated to Nahariya’s Galilee Medical Center for treatment.

The Israel Defense Forces said that a barrage of nine rockets was fired from Lebanon toward the Upper Galilee community of Ga’aton, with seven striking open areas. Another six rockets were fired at Peki’in, which the IDF said were all intercepted by air defenses.

A short while earlier, the IDF said a drone launched from Lebanon that entered Israeli airspace was shot down by air defenses over the northern coastal city of Acre.

Sirens had sounded in Acre and the nearby town of Jadeidi-Makr due to fears of falling shrapnel. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The last time sirens sounded in Acre was in April, after two Hezbollah drones launched from Lebanon were shot down in the area.

Videos posted to social media showed multiple Iron Dome interceptions over the Upper Galilee following the rocket barrage from Lebanon.

Also Friday, the IDF said it carried out a strike against a building used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon’s Naqoura, after identifying a terror cell there.

Hezbollah said that a medic was killed and another wounded in the strike, which it said hit an ambulance in southern Lebanon. A statement from the terror group named the paramedic as Haidar Juhai.

“An Israeli drone strike targeted an ambulance… One rescuer was martyred and another wounded” in the border town of Naqoura, the operations room of Hezbollah’s Islamic Health Authority told AFP.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency also said “an enemy drone targeted a Health Committee ambulance in the town of Naqura,” reporting casualties.

Several terror groups in Lebanon operate health centers and emergency response operations.

Smoke billows from the site of an alleged Israeli airstrike in the southern Lebanese area of Naqoura on May 31, 2024. (Kawnat Haju/AFP)

Also Friday, the IDF said two explosive-laden drones launched from Lebanon struck an area in the northern Golan Heights. The army said it was investigating why it failed to intercept the two drones.

There were no injuries in the attack, which set off drone sirens in two communities in the Golan.

Earlier in the day, the IDF said a projectile launched from Lebanon struck the Metula area, causing no damage or injuries. Troops shelled the launch site in response, the military said.

There were also suspected drone infiltration sirens that sounded in the Galilee Panhandle and the Golan Heights on Friday that the IDF said were false alarms.

On Friday morning, the IDF said fighter jets struck buildings overnight used by the Iran-backed terror group in southern Lebanon. Four buildings were struck in the villages of Aitaroun and Markaba, the IDF said, releasing footage of the strike.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the ongoing war there.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in 10 civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 14 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 324 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 62 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and dozens of civilians have been killed.

Tensions spiked earlier this week when Hezbollah launched a series of rocket barrages at northern Israel on Monday, in response to an Israeli strike that killed a terror operative outside a south Lebanon hospital that day.

The director of the facility, which is also run by Hezbollah’s Islamic Health Authority, said two civilians were killed in the strike.

A charred motorcycle is seen after an Israeli strike outside Salah Ghandour Hospital, background, in Bint Jbeil town, south Lebanon, May 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Mohammad Zaatari)

Meanwhile, a senior adviser to US President Joe Biden said Thursday that a land border agreement between Israel and Lebanon implemented in phases could dampen the simmering and deadly conflict on the northern border.

“I’m not expecting peace, everlasting peace, between Hezbollah and Israel,” Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to Biden for energy and investment, said in an interview. “But if we can reach a set of understandings and… take away some of the impetus for conflict and establish for the first time ever a recognized border between the two, I think that will go a long way.”

Hochstein brokered an Israel-Lebanon maritime boundary agreement in late 2022, after two years of talks, which opened the way for both countries to develop natural gas and other resources in the region. He has been working on a demarcation of the land border between the two countries that could have a number of phases.

He said that the first phase would allow for tens of thousands of displaced residents of northern communities in Israel to return to their homes, along with those living in southern communities in Lebanon.

Israel has expressed openness to a diplomatic solution to the conflict but has said it will launch an all-out war against Hezbollah to restore security to the north if an agreement isn’t reached.

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