Hezbollah drone hits Lower Galilee in terror group’s deepest strike of war

IDF says no injuries caused in attack, which Lebanese group claims targeted sensitive air force base some 35 kilometers from frontier

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

Smoke rises after rockets fired from Lebanon hit an open area in Mount Meron, northern Israel, May 15, 2024. (David Cohen/Flash90)
Smoke rises after rockets fired from Lebanon hit an open area in Mount Meron, northern Israel, May 15, 2024. (David Cohen/Flash90)

An explosive-laden drone launched by the Hezbollah terror group from Lebanon struck an area in the Lower Galilee on Wednesday evening, according to the military.

Hezbollah in a statement claimed to have targeted a military base near the Golani Junction, west of Tiberias, some 35 kilometers (21 miles) from the Lebanon border, with several explosive-laden drones.

It would mark Hezbollah’s deepest strike in Israel amid the war.

Hezbollah has launched thousands of drones, missiles, and rockets at northern Israel in the past seven months, though the attacks have largely been limited to the border area. Until Wednesday, the terror group had fired projectiles at Israeli targets up to around 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the frontier.

The IDF said there were no injuries in the attack Wednesday evening. It did not immediately provide details on potential damage.

In its statement, the terror group claimed to have hit an Israeli Air Force base from which a giant missile-detecting blimp, known as Sky Dew, is operated.

A massive blimp containing an advanced radar system that Israel plans to deploy into the sky over northern Israel to detect incoming missiles and drones, as seen at its home base on November 3, 2021. (Defense Ministry)

Amid the incident, a suspected drone infiltration alarm sounded in the Jordan River Village, a recreational village in the Lower Galilee, close to the Sky Dew base.

Hezbollah said the drone attack was a response to recent Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon that killed members of the terror group. On Tuesday night, a top field commander, Hussein Ibrahim Makki, was killed in an IDF drone strike.

The strike prompted Hezbollah to carry out several major attacks on northern Israel, including the drone attack.

Hours after Wednesday’s drone attack, Lebanese media reported Israeli airstrikes in northeastern Lebanon’s Baalbek, a Hezbollah stronghold some 100 kilometers from the border.

The reports described the Israeli strike as the largest in the Baalbek region amid the war. They also said multiple targets were hit in the Nabi Chit and Brital areas.

Earlier Wednesday, a barrage of some 60 rockets was launched by Hezbollah mostly targeting Mount Meron, located some eight kilometers (5 miles) from the Lebanon border, atop which sits a sensitive air traffic control base.

At least one heavy rocket was also fired at the Biranit army base on the Lebanon border.

Several of the 60 rockets were intercepted by air defenses, while some caused “minor damage” to the Mount Meron base, the IDF said.

The terror group said the attacks were “part of a response to the assassination,” referring to Makki.

The Iron Dome air defense system fires interceptor missiles as rockets are fired from Lebanon, as seen from the northern Israeli city of Safed, May 15, (David Cohen/Flash90)

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 war there.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in ten 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 298 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 60 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and at least 60 civilians have been killed.

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