Gallant: Hezbollah has fired over 1,000 munitions at Israel since start of war

Defense minister says Iran ramping up attacks, as terrorists launched more rockets, drones, anti-tank missiles from Lebanon on Sunday; IDF responded with strikes

File: Smoke rises during an exchange of fire between the IDF and terrorists from the Hezbollah organization on the border between Israel and Lebanon, November 18, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
File: Smoke rises during an exchange of fire between the IDF and terrorists from the Hezbollah organization on the border between Israel and Lebanon, November 18, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told reporters Sunday that Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group had fired 1,000 munitions at Israel since October 7, warning that Tehran was intensifying its attacks against the Jewish state.

The comments came as Hezbollah launched more rocket and missile attacks and instigated drone infiltrations at northern Israeli communities Sunday, undeterred by the stormy weather, leading Israeli forces to respond against targets belonging to the terror group in Lebanon.

“Iran is the root of hostility and aggression against the State of Israel. The war is multifront, even though its intensity is focused on Gaza,” Gallant said.

“Since the beginning of the war, Hezbollah has fired more than 1,000 munitions at Israeli targets but suffers far more significant harm. We’re thwarting [missile and rocket] squads and hitting military assets and targets, Hezbollah pays a heavy price every day,” he said.

He also said that in the West Bank, “there are many attempts to carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis that are thwarted every day by the IDF and the Shin Bet.”

“In recent days, the defense establishment has identified a growing trend of Iran working to intensify attacks by the militias against Israel through its proxies in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. We are following, and will know how to act at the appropriate time, place and strength,” Gallant added.

File: Defense Minister Yoav Gallant during an assessment in the north on November 18, 2023. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

There were no injuries in the attacks in northern Israel on Saturday.

The Israel Defense Force said warplanes hit and destroyed Hezbollah infrastructure after 10 mortar shells were fired at the town of Shlomi this morning, and two rockets were fired at the communities of Margaliot and Kfar Giladi later in the day.

The IDF said the projectiles landed in open areas, and that artillery forces shelled the sources of the fire.

The army said targets struck on Sunday included a Hezbollah military compound, an observation post and other infrastructure.

The military also said that air defenses intercepted several “suspicious aerial targets” — apparently drones — that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon and triggered alerts in Kiryat Shmona and Safed.

An interceptor missile was also fired at a “suspicious target” in northern Israel in the evening, the military said.

Furthermore, Hezbollah said it fired anti-tank missiles at an IDF outpost near the town of Zarit, and at two outposts near Adamit.

The group claimed responsibility for the rocket and mortar attacks carried out throughout the day.

The IDF said the projectiles all landed in open areas.

File: Artillery fire from an Israeli position hits the hills near the outskirts of the border town of Odaisseh in southern Lebanon on November 17, 2023. (Hasan Fneich/AFP)

On Saturday, Lebanon’s government news agency said an Israeli drone had fired two missiles at an aluminum plant outside the southern Lebanese market town of Nabatiyeh early in the morning, causing a fire and widespread damage.

The Israeli military did not confirm any strikes in Lebanon at that time.

A potential Israeli strike near the village of Toul, located far from the border, would be the first to hit the area since the Second Lebanon War in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah.

The National News Agency said firefighters and ambulances rushed to the area, but it did not mention casualties. Journalists who tried to reach the factory were prevented by Hezbollah members.

Since Hamas’s assault on Israel on October 7 and during the subsequent war inside Gaza, where Israel seeks to topple the ruling terror group, the Iran-backed Hezbollah has conducted and overseen daily assaults on Israel’s northern border from Lebanon, but has stopped short of launching a full-scale campaign.

Israel, too, has sought to respond strongly to attacks while avoiding actions that would escalate the conflict as it seeks to keep its focus on Gaza.

The persistent skirmishes along the border have resulted in three civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of six IDF soldiers.

On the Lebanese side, nearly 100 have been killed. The toll includes at least 74 Hezbollah members, eight Palestinian terrorists, a number of civilians and a Reuters journalist.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week warned Hezbollah that it was “playing with fire.”

“There are those who think they can expand their attacks against our troops and against civilians. This is playing with fire,” Netanyahu said, without explicitly mentioning Hezbollah. “Fire will be met with much stronger fire. They must not try us, because we have displayed only a little part of our power. We will harm those who harm us.”

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