ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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IDF hits Hezbollah site, mortar squad amid repeated attacks from Lebanon

No injuries as projectiles set off sirens in several Galilee communities, missile fired at army base; Lebanese PM says he’s trying to avoid country entering war with Israel

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

A picture taken near Moshav Kfar Yuval in northern Israel shows Israeli shellings on the Lebanese side of the border, October 30, 2023. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
A picture taken near Moshav Kfar Yuval in northern Israel shows Israeli shellings on the Lebanese side of the border, October 30, 2023. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)

Several mortar salvos and a missile were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel on Monday, and the Israel Defense Forces said it had hit terror cells and sites belonging to the Hezbollah terror group, as daily skirmishes continued on the northern frontier amid a war in the Gaza Strip.

According to the IDF, mortars were fired and gunmen opened fire at several army posts along the border. The mortar fire set off sirens in several towns in the Upper Galilee and the Western Galilee.

The projectiles all landed in open areas, causing no injuries or damage.

Separately, an anti-tank guided missile was fired at an area near the Biranit base on the Lebanon border.

The IDF said no soldiers were hurt in the attacks.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for attacking a number of IDF positions.

In response, the IDF said, it shelled the sources of the gunfire, missile and mortar launches with artillery, and separately struck several sites belonging to Hezbollah.

The military published videos showing strikes on “military infrastructure” and observation posts belonging to the Lebanese terror group.

Also Monday, the IDF said it had carried out a strike against a terror cell in southern Lebanon preparing to launch mortars at the northern town of Rosh Hanikra.

The military also published a video showing that strike.

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister said Monday he was working to ensure his country does not enter the Israel-Hamas war, even as Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging cross-border fire.

In an interview with AFP, Najib Mikati said he fears an escalation, with the border skirmishes stoking concerns that Lebanon’s powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah movement could open a new front with Israel.

“I am doing my duty to prevent Lebanon from entering the war,” Mikati said. “Lebanon is in the eye of the storm.”

Mikati, who is on good terms with Hezbollah, said he has no “clear answer” about whether war looms ahead, adding that “it depends on regional developments.”

“For now Hezbollah has managed the situation rationally and wisely, and the rules of the game have remained constrained to certain limits,” Mikati claimed. “But at the same time I feel like I cannot reassure Lebanese” because the situation is still developing.

A home in Kiryat Shmona is seen damaged by a rocket fired from Lebanon, October 30, 2023. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Monday’s attacks came amid a high alert and frequent skirmishes along the northern border with Hezbollah and Palestinian terror groups based in Lebanon and threats they could open a second front as Israel battles Hamas in Gaza.

Amid the repeated attacks from Lebanon, the military and Defense Ministry have evacuated 42 border communities and the city of Kiryat Shmona. Many residents in northern towns independently evacuated southward amid the escalating attacks.

Iran-backed Hezbollah has fired dozens of anti-tank guided missiles, rockets and mortars at Israeli military positions and Israeli towns since the murderous October 7 Hamas onslaught. It also sent gunmen — some affiliated with Palestinian terror groups — to infiltrate northern Israel. Several drones have been intercepted over northern Israel.

The IDF has reported striking dozens of terror cells in southern Lebanon in recent days.

The attacks from Lebanon have so far remained limited in scope, amid threats from Israel that Lebanon will suffer if Hezbollah steps up its assault.

Six Israeli soldiers, at least 48 Hezbollah gunmen, and eight Palestinian gunmen have been killed in the exchanges. One Israeli civilian was killed in a Hezbollah attack, and four Lebanese civilians and a journalist were also reportedly killed by Israeli shelling.

AFP contributed to this report.

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