2 hurt as Hezbollah shells north, launches explosive drones after wave of IDF strikes

Some 40 projectiles fired in series of attacks that sparked massive fire in Golan Heights; in first, drone impacts in Nahariya, causing small blaze

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

Israeli firefighters put out flames in a field after rockets launched from Lebanon struck the outskirts of Katzrin in the Golan Heights on June 2, 2024. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)
Israeli firefighters put out flames in a field after rockets launched from Lebanon struck the outskirts of Katzrin in the Golan Heights on June 2, 2024. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

Lebanon’s Hezbollah bombarded northern Israel with some 40 rockets in several separate barrages on Sunday, after the Israeli military carried out a wave of overnight strikes against the terror group.

Explosive-laden drones were also launched from Lebanon on Sunday, as the terror group continued its attacks on the north amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces said Sunday morning that it had carried out an overnight airstrike with fighter jets against a Hezbollah compound in northeastern Lebanon’s Baalbek.

Baalbek, an area identified in the past as a Hezbollah stronghold, is around 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Israeli border.

The IDF said the strike came as a response to Hezbollah shooting down a military drone over southern Lebanon on Saturday.

In addition to the compound, the IDF said fighter jets also struck a building used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon’s Bint Jbeil, and command rooms in Qana and Baraachit.

On Sunday morning, two explosive-laden drones were launched from Lebanon, striking open areas near the city of Katzrin in the Golan Heights, the military said.

The drones sparked a fire that was extinguished a short while later. The IDF said there were no injuries in the incident.

Hezbollah claimed to have targeted an Iron Dome battery in the area with several explosive drones.

Sirens had sounded throughout the area during the attack, as the military attempted to intercept the devices.

Later on Sunday, a barrage of at least 15 rockets was fired at Katzrin, striking open areas and sparking a large fire south of the city, according to the IDF and the Fire and Rescue Service. There were no reports of injuries in the attack.

Hezbollah claimed to have fired dozens of rockets at an IDF base in the area.

In other barrages on Sunday, 15 rockets were fired at the Kiryat Shmona area, and another eight were launched at the largely evacuated border community of Margaliot. According to the IDF, all of the rockets were intercepted.

Another rocket attack on Kiryat Shmona lightly wounded two people, the municipality said.

The city said that at least three impact sites were reported in the city, also resulting in damage.

A composite image of damage caused by rockets from Lebanon in the city of Kiryat Shmona on June 2, 2024. (Kiryat Shmona Municipality)

The military later said it carried out a strike against a building used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon’s Houla, used to launch the attack on Margaliot.

Lebanese media claimed that two shepherds were killed in the Houla strike.

In a separate attack, a building in the border community of Metula was damaged by anti-tank missile fire from Lebanon, the IDF said.

Also Sunday, several suspected drones were identified by the IDF as crossing into Israel from Lebanon, heading toward the Nahariya area on the coast. Sirens had sounded in the area amid the incident.

Footage purportedly from the area showed an Iron Dome interceptor missile engaging one of the drones.

The IDF said the sirens were triggered after an interceptor missile was launched at “a target suspected of being a suspicious aerial target.”

The military later said the incident was over and under investigation, without elaborating further on whether or not the apparent drones were intercepted.

Later in the day, another explosive drone was launched from Lebanon toward the northern coastal city, with the IDF reporting that it had attempted to intercept the device.

The interception attempts failed, and the drone hit an area in the city, causing a small fire that was being extinguished by firefighters, the military added.

It marked the first time amid the war that an explosive drone hit Nahariya.

There were no injuries in both incidents, which Hezbollah did not immediately claim responsibility for.

The IDF said it also launched a strike Sunday against a Hezbollah weapons depot in southern Lebanon’s Mays al-Jabal.

The strike was carried out after a Hezbollah operative was spotted entering the site. A short while later, a fighter jet struck the building, the military said.

The IDF said secondary blasts were seen after the strike, indicating the site was used to store munitions.

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 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 326 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.

Israel has expressed openness to a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but 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.

On Sunday, the IDF announced that it had completed a war simulation exercise over the past week, as part of preparations for an escalation in northern Israel amid daily attacks by Hezbollah.

The drill, carried out by the Northern Command and other General Staff directorates and wings, included “many scenarios that simulate the expansion of the war in the northern arena, and multi-front war scenarios,” the military said.

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