IDF again strikes Hezbollah after drones from Lebanon intercepted over north

Terror cell killed while attempting to infiltrate into Israel; air defenses shoot down three ‘unidentified objects’ over Haifa, Shefa-‘Amr, in latest clashes on northern frontier

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

Smoke billows after an Israeli strike on the Lebanese village of Alma al-Shaab on October 13, 2023. (Christina ASSI / AFP)
Smoke billows after an Israeli strike on the Lebanese village of Alma al-Shaab on October 13, 2023. (Christina ASSI / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces said early Saturday that it had carried out a drone strike against a target belonging to the Hezbollah terror group in southern Lebanon in response to three apparent drones that were shot down over northern Israel.

In a separate incident on Saturday morning, the IDF said it killed three terrorists attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon,

The incidents were the latest skirmishes around the Lebanese border amid fears that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group will open up a second front amid the war triggered by last weekend’s unprecedented Hamas invasion from the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 1,300 Israelis, most of them civilians.

Shortly after midnight, explosions were heard over the northern city of Haifa with the IDF later saying that air defenses had intercepted two “unidentified objects” — believed to be drones.

The IDF said no sirens sounded in the city, “according to protocol.”

A short while later, a suspected drone alarm sounded in the northern city of Shefa-‘Amr, with the IDF later saying it had intercepted another “unidentified object” that entered Israeli airspace.

Shrapnel from the interception crashed down on a home in the Arab city, causing damage, footage showed.

The IDF said that it also intercepted a missile that was fired toward a military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) amid the incidents.

In response, the IDF said it had carried out a drone strike against a Hezbollah target in southern Lebanon.

On Saturday morning, three terrorists were killed while attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon near the northern town of Margaliot, the IDF said. The trio were believed to be Palestinians, and not members of Hezbollah.

The IDF in a statement said it carried out a drone strike against the terror cell after they were identified attempting to cross the border.

On Friday night, Israeli drones, artillery, and tanks struck targets in Lebanon after another apparent drone was intercepted, shots were fired at a number of military posts on the northern frontier and an explosion damaged the border security barrier, the IDF said.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for targeting Israeli military posts on the Lebanon border with small arms fire.

In Israeli artillery shelling in response to the gunfire, a journalist was killed and six others were wounded.

Also 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.

A picture taken from southern Lebanon on October 9, 2023, shows an Israeli Merkava tank driving in the border town of Metula, Israel. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP)

Amid the spiraling tensions, Hezbollah said Friday it would be “fully prepared” to join its Palestinian ally Hamas in the war against Israel when the time is right.

Israel has retaliated for the unprecedented Hamas assault by striking the terror group’s targets in the Gaza Strip, killing some 1,900 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The IDF also said it killed some 1,500 terrorists inside Israel.

Iran has also issued threats of a wider confrontation.

Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions in Lebanon in recent days, although the tit-for-tat attacks have remained limited. At least four Israeli soldiers, three Hezbollah terrorists and five Palestinian terrorists have been killed in the exchanges.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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