Hezbollah claims to target IDF bases in Golan Heights

IDF strikes Hezbollah sites deep in Lebanon; 100 rockets fired at north

One person reported killed in airstrikes on terror group’s stronghold Baalbek after drone attack; no injuries reported in one of the largest barrages fired to date by terror group

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

A youth sits by a damaged vehicle outside a destroyed building in the aftermath of an overnight Israeli airstrike on the city of Baalbek in east central Lebanon on March 12, 2024 (Photo by AFP)
A youth sits by a damaged vehicle outside a destroyed building in the aftermath of an overnight Israeli airstrike on the city of Baalbek in east central Lebanon on March 12, 2024 (Photo by AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces carried out two waves of airstrikes deep in Lebanon, late Monday and on Tuesday morning, saying fighter jets hit several sites belonging to the Hezbollah terror group.

On Tuesday morning, hours after the first wave of strikes in northeastern Lebanon’s Baalbbek, a barrage of some 70 rockets was launched by Hezbollah from Lebanon at the Golan Heights, according to the IDF.

It marked one of the largest barrages fired by the terror group amid the ongoing war.

A short while later, a further 30 rockets were fired at the Golan Heights, the IDF said.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the barrages, saying it targeted two Israeli army bases in the Golan Heights with more than 100 Katyusha rockets.

The terror group said the rocket barrage came in response to recent Israeli attacks, including Monday night’s strike in northeastern Lebanon’s Baalbek, which reportedly killed a civilian.

There were no reports of damage or injuries from the Hezbollah rockets, with footage showing some of the projectiles being intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system. Sirens had sounded several communities in the northern Golan Heights and the Galilee Panhandle.

Sirens did not sound for the second barrage as the rockets impacted open areas, the army said.

After the barrages of 100 rockets, the IDF said fighter jets struck three rocket launchers in southern Lebanon used in the attack.

According to the IDF, the airstrikes on Monday night in the area of northeastern Lebanon’s Baalbek targeted facilities belonging to Hezbollah’s “aerial unit.”

Baalbek, an area identified in the past as a Hezbollah stronghold, is nearly 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Israeli border.

The IDF said the strikes were in response to the Lebanese terror group’s recent launching of explosives-laden drones toward the Golan Heights.

There have been no reports of injuries or damage in the recent explosive unmanned aerial vehicle attacks, the latest of which was carried out on Monday morning.

Smoke billows from the site of an Israeli airstrike that targeted the southern Lebanese village of Khiyam on March 12, 2024 (Photo by AFP)

Two security sources and the Baalbek governor, Bashir Khader, told Reuters that at least one civilian was killed and several others were injured in the Israeli strikes.

One of the strikes hit the southern entrance to the city of Baalbek, at least two kilometers from Roman ruins, the security sources said. The three other strikes hit near the city of Taraya, 20 kilometers west of Baalbek, they added.

The IDF published footage showing one of the sites being hit.

Surveillance camera footage posted to social media also showed one of the strikes.

Later Tuesday, in response to the barrages of 100 rockets, the IDF said it targeted two Hezbollah command centers in the Baalbek area. Lebanese media said the strikes took place in the towns of Saraain and Nabi Chit, just south of the city of Baalbek.

“Hezbollah used these sites to store significant assets used to strengthen its weapons arsenal,” the IDF said.

The IDF also said it targeted buildings used by Hezbollah and additional infrastructure in Khiam, Bint Jbeil, Odaisseh, and Ayta ash-Shab on Tuesday. It published footage of those strikes.

The IDF previously struck in Baalbek last month, after Hezbollah downed a military drone over Lebanon. At the time, it marked the deepest confirmed Israeli strikes in Lebanon in years.

Earlier Monday, the IDF said fighter jets struck buildings and infrastructure used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon’s Ayta ash-Shab and Naqoura.

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 against the Hamas terror group there.

Illustrative: This picture taken from a position in northern Israel shows an Israeli Air Force fighter jet flying over the border area with southern Lebanon on March 10, 2024. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

On Sunday alone, Hezbollah fired some 80 rockets at northern Israel.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in seven civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of ten IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 242 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 40 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and at least 30 civilians, three of whom were journalists, have been killed.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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