IDF base in north damaged by rocket fire; military hits Hezbollah targets in Lebanon

Iran-backed terror group continues to launch missiles, mortars, drones at northern Israel amid Gaza war; no injuries caused

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

Screen grab of video showing damage to an IDF base in northern Israel after rocket fire from Lebanon, November 20, 2023 (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen grab of video showing damage to an IDF base in northern Israel after rocket fire from Lebanon, November 20, 2023 (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Skirmishes between the Israel Defense Forces and Hezbollah continued Monday amid Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, with the Iran-backed terror group firing rockets and launching drones at northern Israel, causing heavy damage to an army base in one of the attacks.

Hezbollah has fired more than 1,000 rockets, mortars, missiles, and drones at Israel since October 8, a day after the Gaza war erupted, according to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Monday’s skirmishes began, unusually, with the IDF striking first. The military said it had shelled southern Lebanon with artillery, apparently to prevent terror cells from approaching the area to carry out attacks.

A short while later, a number of rockets and mortars were fired from Lebanon at the northern communities of Arab al-Aramshe and Bar’am, as well as the Biranit army base.

No injuries were caused in the attacks, but heavy damage and a fire were caused at the Biranit base, footage showed.

In response to the attacks, the IDF said, fighter jets, combat helicopters, and tanks struck Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon.

In a separate incident, the IDF said it struck a Hezbollah cell planning to carry out an anti-tank missile attack from the Lebanese village of Marwahin.

Later, some 25 rockets and three suicide drones were launched by Hezbollah from Lebanon at multiple locations along the border.

Sirens sounded in the northern towns of Kiryat Shmona, Manara, and Margaliot. Several of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dom missile defense system, while others landed in open areas, the IDF said.

The IDF said the three explosive-laden drones hit an IDF post on the border.

There were no injuries in the later attacks, and the IDF said it was responding with artillery shelling at the sources of the fire.

The IDF later said it struck a Hezbollah command center and other sites belonging to the terror group in southern Lebanon in response to renewed attacks.

It added that forces also struck a cell preparing to carry out an attack near Metula.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the rocket and mortar attacks carried out throughout the day.

Artillery fire from an Israeli position hits the hills near the outskirts of the border town of Odaisseh in southern Lebanon on November 17, 2023. (Hasan FNEICH / AFP)

Since Hamas’s assault on Israel on October 7 and during the subsequent war inside Gaza, where Israel seeks to topple the ruling terror group, the Iran-backed Hezbollah has conducted and overseen daily assaults on Israel’s northern border from Lebanon, but has stopped short of launching a full-scale campaign.

Israel, too, has sought to respond strongly to attacks while avoiding actions that would escalate the conflict as it seeks to keep its focus on Gaza.

The persistent skirmishes along the border have resulted in three civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of six IDF soldiers.

On the Lebanese side, nearly 100 have been killed. The toll includes at least 76 Hezbollah members, eight Palestinian terrorists, a number of civilians and a Reuters journalist.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week warned Hezbollah that it was “playing with fire.”

“There are those who think they can expand their attacks against our troops and against civilians. This is playing with fire,” Netanyahu said, without explicitly mentioning Hezbollah. “Fire will be met with much stronger fire. They must not try us, because we have displayed only a little part of our power. We will harm those who harm us.”

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