IDF strikes Hezbollah sites in Lebanon after fresh missile, rocket attacks

Military says missile aimed at UAV intercepted, terror cell preparing anti-tank fire struck; rockets launched Friday miss army positions, hit Syria

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

Flares are fired from northern Israel over the southern Lebanese border village of Aita al-Shaab, on October 28,2023.  (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP)
Flares are fired from northern Israel over the southern Lebanese border village of Aita al-Shaab, on October 28,2023. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP)

The Israel Defense Forces on Saturday struck a number of Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon in response to missile and rocket attacks, and additionally hit terror operatives preparing to carry out new attacks on northern Israel.

Skirmishes have continued on the Lebanon border for several weeks, amid fears a new front could be opened as the IDF continues its war with Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip in the south.

The IDF said Saturday morning that it had carried out an overnight airstrike against a site belonging to the Hezbollah terror group in southern Lebanon, in response to rocket fire toward Israel a day earlier.

The rockets fired on Friday afternoon were aimed at an IDF position in the Golan Heights, but the projectiles landed in Syria.

On Saturday morning, the IDF said its air defenses had intercepted a surface-to-air missile fired from Lebanon aimed at an Israeli military drone.

The IDF unmanned aerial vehicle was not damaged in the attempt.

Footage from Tiberias in northern Israel showed a trail of smoke from the air defense missile.

The IDF later said it carried out airstrikes against the site from which the missile was launched.

A short while later, the IDF said it carried out a drone strike against a terror cell in southern Lebanon preparing to carry out an anti-tank guided missile attack against an area near the northern community of Hanita.

Also Saturday, the IDF said mortars and anti-tank guided missiles were launched from Lebanon at military positions and Israeli towns on the border, setting off sirens in the Upper Galilee communities of Misgav Am and Margaliot, and in Arab al-Aramshe in the Western Galilee.

In two further attacks, several rockets were launched from Lebanon at areas near the northern communities of Zar’it and Shtula. All the projectiles landed in open areas causing no injuries or damage.

The IDF said it responded with artillery shelling toward the sources of the rocket fire and later carried out an airstrike on a Hezbollah site.

On Friday, Hezbollah launched anti-tank guided missiles and opened fire with light arms at an Israeli military position near Avivim, and against the Misgav Am area on the northern border.

The IDF said no soldiers were hurt in the attacks, and troops responded with artillery shelling against the sources of the fire in southern Lebanon.

Smoke rises from inside an Israeli army position which was hit by missiles launched by the Hezbollah terror group, as seen from Tair Harfa village, a Lebanese border village with Israel, south Lebanon, October 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

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

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

Six Israeli soldiers, at least 47 Hezbollah gunmen, and six 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 reported killed by Israeli shelling.

The attacks from Lebanon have come as Israel is waging war in Gaza against Hamas after the terror group’s shock assault on the country on October 7, in which it killed some 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped over 200 people and took them to the Strip.

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