The Israeli military clashed with the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group on Saturday in the latest skirmishes on the northern frontier, which came amid fears a second front could open up as Israel wages war on terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
In a separate incident hours later, two rockets were launched from Syria at northern Israel, causing no injuries.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, the clashes Saturday afternoon began after some 30 mortars were launched at military positions in the contested Mount Dov area on the Lebanon border.
Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had launched mortars and anti-tank guided missiles at the sites.
The terror group later published footage showing the launches.
The IDF said it shelled the source of fire with artillery, and carried out a drone strike on a terror cell planning to carry out an anti-tank guided missile attack against troops in the area.
Apparently referring to the same incident, the Hamas terror group later said three of its combatants in Lebanon had been killed by the IDF after they blew up a section of the border fence with Israel and attempted to infiltrate, according to Reuters.
المقاومة الإسلامية في لبنان تهاجم عدداً من المواقع الصهيونية في مزارع شبعا اللبنانية المحتلة (الرادار، رويسات العلم، السماقة، زبدين ورمثا)، بالصواريخ المُوجّهة وقذائف الهاون وتحقق إصابات دقيقة ومباشرة. pic.twitter.com/EOL9ZDjPRZ
— Newpress | نيو برس (@NewpressPs) October 14, 2023
The military later said it also hit a number of Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon.
Two Lebanese civilians, a married couple, were killed in the shelling of the southern village of Shebaa, its mayor told AFP.
The military did not immediately provide information on potential casualties among IDF troops.
IDF publishes footage showing a drone strike against an anti-tank guided missile squad in southern Lebanon and artillery and tank shelling against Hezbollah sites in the area in response to the mortar fire on Israel earlier. pic.twitter.com/AAnmcNDJoW
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) October 14, 2023
Hours later, the IDF said two rockets were launched from Syria at northern Israel, setting off sirens in the Golan Heights town of Avnei Eitan.
The IDF said both rockets landed in open areas, causing no damage.
The military added that it had responded with artillery shelling toward the source of the rocket fire.
Separately, the IDF said it launched an Iron Dome missile at a “suspicious target” that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon amid the rocket attack from Syria.
Further details surrounding the second incident, which set off an alarm in the northern town of Alma, close to the Lebanon border, remained under investigation.
The clashes came hours after the IDF said it killed three terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon on Saturday morning.
Three suspected drones were also shot down over northern Israel overnight, as was a missile launched toward a military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The IDF said it carried out a drone strike against a Hezbollah site in Lebanon in response.
Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions in Lebanon several times in recent days, although the tit-for-tat attacks have remained limited in scope. At least four Israeli soldiers, three Hezbollah terrorists, and five Palestinian terrorists have been killed in the exchanges.
The IDF has bolstered forces in northern Israel amid fears that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group will open up a second front in the war triggered by last weekend’s unprecedented Hamas assault from the Gaza Strip that killed more than 1,300 Israelis, most of them civilians.
On Friday, the IDF declared some areas in the northern town of Metula a closed military zone. Metula in recent days had recommended that residents leave the town amid the tensions.
With alert levels high, Hezbollah said Friday it would be “fully prepared” to join its Palestinian ally Hamas in the war against Israel when the time is right.
Iran has also issued threats of a wider confrontation.
Israel has retaliated for the unprecedented Hamas assault by striking the terror group’s targets in the Gaza Strip, killing some 2,200 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The IDF also said it killed some 1,500 terrorists inside Israel.