IDF launches ‘widespread’ strikes in south Lebanon after barrages of Hezbollah rockets

Projectiles cause damage in Kiryat Shmona; drone from Lebanon intercepted near Haifa; Hezbollah says missiles in response to overnight killing of operative, 2 relatives

Damage seen in Kiryat Shmona on December 28, 2023 as a result of a rocket launched by Hezbollah in Lebanon. (Kiryat Shmona Municipality)
Damage seen in Kiryat Shmona on December 28, 2023 as a result of a rocket launched by Hezbollah in Lebanon. (Kiryat Shmona Municipality)

Hezbollah launched repeated barrages of rockets at northern Israel on Thursday, causing damage in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona, as the IDF carried out widespread strikes in southern Lebanon in response.

Drones were also shot down over northern Israel, as violence along Israel’s northern border appeared to intensify amid its ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza.

Repeated drone infiltration and rocket alert sirens sounded in northern Israel throughout Thursday, including in Haifa, Acre, Kiryat Shmona, towns in the Upper Galilee and other areas.

The IDF said it intercepted a drone near Haifa midday Thursday that entered from Lebanon, and it said that a second drone alert incident had ended without concern of a security threat.

Rockets toward Kiryat Shmona caused damage in the city, local authorities reported, saying that missiles or shrapnel fell in several locations in the city that has been largely evacuated since the start of the war. No injuries were reported.

The IDF said it responded to barrages of rockets and drone attacks on northern Israel from Lebanon by striking the sources of fire.


The military carried out “widespread” strikes in southern Lebanon’s Ayta ash-Shab and Ramyeh, as well as other areas, it said Thursday, targeting Hezbollah infrastructure used to carry out attacks against Israel.

A Hezbollah military compound was struck by fighter jets, as was a Hezbollah cell preparing to carry out an anti-tank missile attack, and another cell in a building used to fire projectiles at Israel earlier, according to the IDF.

Overall, Hezbollah launched around 50 rockets and missiles as well as two drones at Israel throughout Thursday.

Lebanon’s state media reported Wednesday that the rockets were fired in response to the IDF airstrike that killed a Hezbollah man with Australian citizenship and two of his relatives.

Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) identified the dead as Ali Bazzi, his brother Ibrahim and Ibrahim’s wife Shourouk Hammoud, and said another family member was wounded. Hezbollah later announced that Ali Bazzi was one of its members.

Their three coffins were draped with the flag of the Iran-backed terror group. Asked about the incident, the Israeli military said one of its jets had struck a Hezbollah military site overnight.

The coffins of a Hezbollah fighter and two of his relatives who were killed in Israeli shelling are during their funeral procession in Bint Jbeil, in southern Lebanon, December 27, 2023. (AFP)

Separately, the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon on Thursday called on authorities to investigate an attack by Lebanese citizens on its forces.

UNIFIL said that groups of young men in Lebanon’s south — a stronghold of the Hezbollah — blocked UNIFIL patrols twice since Wednesday, harming one of its troops.

“A peacekeeper was hurt after a patrol was attacked by a group of young men in Taybeh” near the Israeli border late Wednesday, UNIFIL said in a statement, adding that “a vehicle was also damaged.”

“We call on the Lebanese authorities to undertake a full and swift investigation, and for all perpetrators to be brought to justice,” it said.

NNA reported Wednesday that unidentified individuals stopped and attacked a patrol of the UN force’s Indonesian contingent, breaking car windows and injuring one of the troops.

An armored personnel carrier belonging to UNIFIL drives past a poster of slain Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, as it patrols in the Marjayoun area of southern Lebanon, on October 26, 2023. (ANWAR AMRO / AFP)

In a separate incident on Thursday, peacekeepers were “blocked for about four minutes as they traveled through” the border village of Kfar Kila, UNIFIL deputy spokeswoman Kandice Ardiel said.

Separately, late Wednesday evening a suspected explosive-laden drone crashed in the southern Golan Heights, with an Iran-backed Iraqi militia taken credit for launching the attack.

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 four civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of nine IDF soldiers. There have also been several rocket attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 129 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 16 Palestinian terror operatives, a Lebanese soldier, and at least 19 civilians, three of whom were journalists, have been killed.

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