ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Hezbollah hits Israel with heavy rocket barrages, anti-tank missile attacks

Some 80 rockets fired by terror groups at Israel on Thursday; IDF strikes rocket launchers, terror cells and infrastructure in response

Smoke rises in southern Lebanon after IDF strikes targets in the country following Hezbollah attacks on Israel, November 23, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Smoke rises in southern Lebanon after IDF strikes targets in the country following Hezbollah attacks on Israel, November 23, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Hezbollah launched dozens of rockets at northern Israel on Thursday in one of the largest barrages fired from Lebanon since October 7, sending thousands of people in northern towns and communities rushing to bomb shelters.

In one salvo after midday, the IDF said some 35 rockets launched from Lebanon crossed the border into Israel. Hezbollah claimed responsibility, and said it had launched 48 rockets at an army base near Safed.

Hezbollah also took responsibility for several anti-tank guided missile and mortar attacks at different targets in northern Israel, including a strike against Kibbutz Menara in the Upper Galilee that caused damage to some buildings, Army Radio reported.

At least 80 rockets, missiles, and mortars were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel by mid-afternoon.

The IDF said it used aircraft and Iron Sting guided mortars to strike the rocket launchers in response to the initial barrages, and later hit “terrorist infrastructure” and rocket launch sites in Lebanon with airstrikes by fighter jets and attack helicopters as a result of the ongoing attacks.

Separately, a drone, helicopter, and tanks struck a Hezbollah cell that fired an anti-tank missile at the Biranit base, the IDF adds.

The intense Hezbollah attacks against Israel on Thursday came after the IDF killed five Hezbollah fighters late Wednesday night, including the son of a Hezbollah member of parliament and a commander in Hezbollah’s Radwan commando force.

Puffs of smoke are seen as rockets launched from Lebanon into Northern Israel are intercepted by an anti-missile system, as seen from the northern Israeli city of Tzfat, November 23, 2023. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has spoken out on two occasions this week against Hezbollah’s ongoing attacks against Israel, telling the UN Security Council on Tuesday that Hezbollah must be disarmed and removed from southern Lebanon to avoid an escalation of the current war. He made similar comments to foreign journalists on Wednesday.

Since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, when thousands of terrorists massacred some 1,200 people in Israel and took some 240 hostages, Israel’s northern front on the border with Lebanon has also been heating up. Daily exchanges of fire and attacks, with Hezbollah, Hamas and other terror groups, are raising fears of a broader conflagration.

Since the cross-border exchanges began, 107 people have been killed on the Lebanese side, according to an AFP tally. The toll also includes at least 14 civilians, three of them journalists.

Hezbollah announced on Wednesday the death of its 79th fighter killed since the war’s outbreak. Seven Hezbollah members have also been killed in Syria.

On the Israeli side, six soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

Hezbollah announced Wednesday that it will participate in the four-day truce that is expected to begin in Gaza on Friday, even though it was not part of the negotiations between Israel and Hamas via the US and Qatar, host to Hamas’s political leadership in Doha.

In comments later Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had made no lull commitments regarding the northern border, and that Hezbollah would be judged “by its actions” rather than anything it said.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, on a visit to Beirut, warned in an interview that if the Hamas-Israel pause begins but “does not continue… the conditions in the region will not remain the same as before the ceasefire and the scope of the war will expand.”

Agencies contributed to this report.

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