Hezbollah fires dozens of rockets at northern towns, 2nd such barrage in as many days

No casualties reported as Iron Dome intercepts many of the projectiles; IDF strikes in Lebanon in response to attack

Multiple Iron Dome interceptions over northern Israel, February 9 2024. (Video screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Multiple Iron Dome interceptions over northern Israel, February 9 2024. (Video screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Hezbollah terror group fired a barrage of over 30 rockets at northern Israel Friday evening, the second day in a row that such a large barrage has been fired from Lebanon into Israel.

The rockets triggered rocket sirens in northern communities including Kiryat Shmona.

Most of the rockets were either shot down by the Iron Dome missile defense system or were allowed to land in open areas.

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the barrage, saying it fired dozens of Katyusha rockets.

In a statement, the terror group claimed to have targeted the IDF’s Kela base in the Golan Heights, although the sirens sounded in communities some 15 kilometers (9 miles) away.

Footage posted to social media showed Iron Dome intercepting several projectiles over the area.

The IDF said it later struck a launcher used in the rocket barrage, in the south Lebanon village of Qalaat Debba.

Fighter jets also hit another Hezbollah building in Khiam, the IDF added.

Earlier in the day, Israeli fighter jets carried out strikes against Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon, including a complex where the terror group’s operatives were gathered in Maroun al-Ras. The IDF said it also hit three more buildings used by Hezbollah in Yohmor and Naqoura.

Also Friday, the head of the IDF’s Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Ori Gordin met with mayors and council heads of evacuated communities in the north to discuss the security situation along the Lebanon border, the IDF said.

Gordin assured the local officials that the military’s goal is “to change the security situation in the north in a way that will allow the residents to return safely and with a sense of security,” and said that the IDF was continuing “to prepare for the expansion of the war and going on the offensive” against Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Since October 8, the Lebanon-based terror group has launched rockets, missiles and drones at Israel’s northern communities on a near-daily basis. As a result, some 80,000 people have become internally displaced, in addition to those displaced by the October 7 deadly Hamas assault on southern Israel and subsequent war in Gaza.

Gordin told the local council heads that the military will continue “to harm Hezbollah and negate its capabilities,” the statement added.

“The residents of the north are our strength to continue, they are the backbone that enables the achievements we have reached in the north so far,” he concluded.

Thursday also saw Hezbollah fire a barrage of some 30 rockets at northern Israel, hours after an apparent Israeli drone strike in the southern Lebanese town of Nabatieh was said to target two Hezbollah operatives, including a senior commander.

That drone strike was reportedly in retaliation for an earlier Hezbollah launch at a military base that left three IDF soldiers wounded — one seriously — as a rash of cross-border attacks kept tensions at the border high.

On Thursday, Israeli Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar warned Hezbollah that Israel was prepared to significantly ratchet up its strikes against the terror group.

“Hezbollah will continue to pay with the loss of its systems. Dozens of aircraft are now operating in the skies of southern Lebanon, and as soon as the order is given, the dozens will turn into hundreds that will perform the missions within minutes of being scrambled,” Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar said at an internal IAF conference, according to a transcript published by the IDF.

Top Israeli officials have repeatedly threatened to go to war in Lebanon following the campaign to root out Hamas in Gaza, with the aim of driving Hezbollah away from the border in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

An Israeli mobile howitzer gets into position near the border with Lebanon in northern Israel, January 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Israel has said it cannot tolerate Hezbollah forces along its border, where they could launch a murderous attack on civilians in a similar vein to Hamas’s October 7 onslaught.

It has increasingly warned that if the international community does not push Hezbollah away from the border through diplomatic means, Israel will take action.

Due to the concerns of another war between Israel and Hezbollah, Lebanese officials said Thursday that foreign diplomats have intensified their efforts to restore calm to the volatile Lebanon-Israel border in parallel with the ongoing negotiations for a hostage deal and accompanying truce in Gaza.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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