Top Hezbollah commander, 3 operatives killed in south Lebanon strike

Taleb Abdullah is most senior member of the Lebanese terror group to be killed in eight months of deadly border fighting with Israel; 80 rockets fired at north on Tuesday

Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdullah in a poster published by Hezbollah on June 11, 2024. (Hezbollah media office)
Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdullah in a poster published by Hezbollah on June 11, 2024. (Hezbollah media office)

Hezbollah announced the death of a senior commander in an alleged Israeli airstrike in southern Lebanon on Tuesday night, as the terror group fired some 80 rockets at northern communities throughout the day amid increasing cross-border hostilities.

The Iran-backed group said in a statement that Taleb Abdullah, also known as Abu Taleb, from the south Lebanon town of Aadachit, was killed “on the road to Jerusalem,” the terror organization’s term for Israeli strikes.

He was killed in an airstrike in the town of Jouaiyya, some 15 kilometers (9 miles) north of the border with Israel. Another three Hezbollah operatives were killed in the strike.

Abu Taleb was the most senior member of the group killed in the eight months of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, a security source told Reuters.

He was identified by security sources as the terror group’s commander for the central region of the southern border strip.

The sources said the four Hezbollah members were likely targeted during a meeting.

In its statement, Hezbollah referred to Abdullah as a commander. The terror group rarely refers to its senior operatives slain in Israeli strikes as commanders.

The only other operative referred to as a commander was Wissam al-Tawil, the deputy head of the terror group’s elite Radwan force, killed by Israel in January.

Hezbollah commanders Wissam Tawil (left) and Taleb Abdullah in an undated photo published by Hezbollah on June 11, 2024. (Hezbollah media office)

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the commander was senior to Tawil.

There was no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces on strike, which came amid a series of rocket barrages fired from Lebanon at northern communities throughout the day. There were no injuries reported in the rocket attacks, with air defenses intercepting some projectiles while others struck open areas.

Footage from a community in the Kiryat Shmona area showed the Iron Dome air defense system engaging a barrage of some 15 rockets as Israelis were gathered for Shavuot celebrations.

Separately, the IDF said it carried out a strike on a building used by Hezbollah, a rocket launching site, and other infrastructure in southern Lebanon’s Aitaroun. A Hezbollah rocket-launching cell was also targeted in a drone strike in Deir Aames, the military added.

Also on Tuesday afternoon, the IDF said that following recent infiltration alerts in the north, air defenses successfully downed a drone that crossed into Israel from Lebanon in the Upper Galilee region.

Firefighters were also battling a number of blazes sparked by rocket and drone attacks earlier in the day in the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights, following a number of similar fires in the past week.

Israeli firefighters work to extinguish flames in the Golan Heights sparked by rockets fired from Lebanon, June 11, 2024. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

The day of cross border attacks came after fighter jets struck what Israel’s military described as a significant Hezbollah compound deep in Lebanon overnight Monday.

The IDF said airstrikes targeted a site in the Baalbek region belonging to Hezbollah’s Unit 4400, as well as sites in southern Lebanon. According to Israel, Unit 4400 is tasked with “logistical force build-up,” including delivering weaponry to Lebanon and within the country. Hezbollah is backed by Iran, which supplies it with much of its arms.

Lebanese media reported that strikes took place in the Hermel District, near Baalbek in northeastern Lebanon, and sources in the terror group told AFP that three Hezbollah members were killed. The attack potentially marked the deepest IDF strikes in Lebanon amid the ongoing war, as Hermel is some 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the Israeli border.

Tuesday morning saw a barrage of 50 rockets launched at the Golan Heights, the military’s air defenses down a “suspicious aerial target” identified off the coast of Haifa in northern Israel, and a drone seemingly fired by an Iran-backed militia Iraq at the southern city of Eilat, the military said.

The damage to a home in Yir’on from a Hezbollah anti-tank guided missile, June 10, 2024 (Fire and Rescue Service)

Since the day after Hamas’s October 7 attack, 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 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 15 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 341 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.

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