Hezbollah fires dozens of rockets at north after fatal IDF attack in south Lebanon

None hurt in barrages on Kiryat Shmona, Meron that terror group says are retaliation for Aynata strike that killed operative; recent IDF drill simulates ground offensive in Lebanon

Soldiers inspecting the damage to a building in the northern community of Dovev, after it was hit by rockets fired from Lebanon, during an IDF tour, on May 27, 2024. (Jalaa Marey/ AFP)
Soldiers inspecting the damage to a building in the northern community of Dovev, after it was hit by rockets fired from Lebanon, during an IDF tour, on May 27, 2024. (Jalaa Marey/ AFP)

Hezbollah launched a series of rocket barrages at northern Israel on Monday, according to the Israel Defense Forces, in response to an Israeli strike that killed a terror operative outside a south Lebanon hospital earlier in the day.

A barrage of some 25 rockets was launched from Lebanon at the northern city of Kiryat Shmona on Monday evening, the IDF said. According to the military, some of the rockets were intercepted.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service was scanning impact sites for possible injuries.

A short while earlier, Hezbollah launched a barrage of some 35 rockets at the Mount Meron area in northern Israel. The IDF said the rockets struck open areas and there were no reports of injuries, though the impacts sparked at least one fire near the northern community of Safsufa.

The rocket launchers used in the attack on Mount Meron were later hit in airstrikes, the military said.

The strikes came days after the mountainside gravesite of second-century rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai on Mount Meron was ordered largely shut and declared a closed military zone, in an attempt to stop thousands of religious Jews from attending the annual Lag B’Omer pilgrimage there in close range of Hezbollah missiles from southern Lebanon.

An emergency law passed by the Knesset last week shuttered the site for all but a handful of approved attendees over the holiday, an event that normally attracts more than 100,000 revelers and is considered the world’s largest Jewish pilgrimage.

Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, has traded regular cross-border fire with Israel since the Palestinian terror group’s October 7 massacre, which triggered the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

Claiming responsibility for the first barrage, Hezbollah said it fired “dozens of Katyusha rockets” at northern Israel in response to the deadly Israeli strike in southern Lebanon earlier in the day.

The IDF confirmed that a terror operative who was identified at a rocket launching site in southern Lebanon’s Aynata, adjacent to Bint Jbeil, was killed in the airstrike. The site had recently been used to fire rockets at the Malkia area in northern Israel.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported that “an enemy drone” targeted “a motorcycle near the Salah Ghandour hospital in the town of Bint Jbeil,” killing one person and wounding others, without specifying whether they were civilians.

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)

The Islamic Health Committee, affiliated with Hezbollah, runs the hospital in the southern town. The facility’s administration said one person was killed and 10 were wounded, four of them seriously.

Lebanon’s health ministry condemned the “brutal Israeli strike” on the hospital, calling it a “war crime” in a statement.

Drone alert sirens also sounded in a number of northern towns and cities near the border with Lebanon early on Monday afternoon, with the IDF announcing a short while later that the incident was over, without providing further details.

Earlier in the day, the IDF said it was shelling south Lebanon’s Khiam, Houla and Shebaa with artillery following the barrage and that fighter jets had also hit a building used by Hezbollah in Aitaroun.

Hezbollah also claimed responsibility for an anti-tank guided missile attack earlier on Monday in Metula, which damaged one home.

Two Hezbollah cells were targeted in airstrikes in southern Lebanon on Sunday, the military said on Monday, after fighter jets and drones attacked a series of targets belonging to the terror group overnight.

One of the Hezbollah cells was hit by fighter jets after being spotted operating at a building known to be used by the terror group in Yaroun, and the second was hit by a drone after being spotted in the Houla area, according to the IDF.

The IDF said that the Air Force also struck a weapons depot and a building used by Hezbollah in Mays al-Jabal, infrastructure in Khiam and additional buildings in Houla in the overnight strikes.

Meanwhile, the IDF said on Monday that the 146th Division and 205th Reserve Armored Brigade carried out a drill in recent weeks simulating a ground offensive in Lebanon.

“The exercise simulated combat scenarios in the northern arena, the rapid deployment of forces on the ground, the functioning of the division and brigade headquarters and the readiness of the forces for an attack,” the IDF said.

IDF officers are seen during a drill simulating a ground offensive in Lebanon, in an image published May 27, 2024 (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel has threatened to go to war against Hezbollah to restore security to the north of Israel, where tens of thousands of civilians are currently displaced.

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 322 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.

Canaan Lidor, Emanuel Fabian and Agencies contributed to this report.

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