Reported IDF strike kills 2 Hezbollah members after anti-tank missile attack on home

No injuries as projectile hits home in border town of Yuval; Netanyahu vows to restore security — by force or by diplomacy — so residents of northern border towns can return

Smoke billowing above the Lebanese village of Blida during Israeli airstrikes on February 22, 2024. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)
Smoke billowing above the Lebanese village of Blida during Israeli airstrikes on February 22, 2024. (Jalaa MAREY / AFP)

Two Hezbollah fighters were killed in a reported Israeli drone strike in southern Lebanon Thursday, after rocket fire from the terror group hit an Israeli home, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to restore conditions that allow for residents to return to their homes near the northern border.

As projectiles launched from Lebanon continued to set off alarms in the north, an Israeli drone struck an apartment building in Kfar Remen with two missiles, a Lebanese security source said on condition of anonymity.

At least two Hezbollah fighters were killed and three others were wounded in the strike, according to the source.

Hezbollah named the two slain fighters as Hassan Saleh and Hisham Abdullah.

Sky News Arabia claimed Saleh was a “prominent missile expert,” but the terror group made no such claim.

Earlier reports had put the death toll at three.

Hassan Saleh, left, and Hisham Abdullah, in a composite picture created from posters released by Hezbollah announcing their deaths on February 22, 2024. (Hezbollah)

Kfar Remen is adjacent to the city of Nabatieh in southern Lebanon, some 12 kilometers (seven miles) from the Israeli border.

The Israel Defense Forces did not comment on the alleged strike, or on reported shelling in border towns further west. The attacks came moments after the army said it fired interceptor missiles at two “suspicious aerial targets” over Mount Dov. It was unclear if the targets were downed.

Earlier Thursday, an anti-tank missile hit a home in Yuval, setting it on fire, and another projectile landed in an open area near Kiryat Shmona.

There were no reports of injuries in the missile attacks, with most civilians displaced from border towns.

In response, the IDF said fighter jets struck a building in Maroun al-Ras and other infrastructure belonging to the terror group in Kafr Kila and Khaim.

It also shelled the launch sites in southern Lebanon with artillery, as well as an area near Jebbayn.

Firefighters extinguish a fire at a home in Kfar Yuval that was hit by anti-tank missile fire from Lebanon, February 22, 2024. (Fire and Rescue Services)

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for attacks on Kiryat Shmona, Kfar Yuval and Mount Dov, the latter of which houses several IDF posts.

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. This has led to Israeli retaliations and regular cross-border fire, and has displaced some 80,000 Israelis in border communities.

Meeting troops from the IDF’s Alpine Unit at Mount Hermon on the Syrian border, Netanyahu vowed to restore security so people can return home.

“In the north, we have a simple goal — to bring back the residents,” he said.

“To bring residents back we need to restore the feeling of security, and to restore the feeling of security we need to restore security, and it will be achieved,” he added during the visit, which also included a briefing from commanders.

“We won’t give up on this. We will achieve through one of two ways: the military way — if it is needed; the diplomatic way — if it is possible. But either way, Hezbollah needs to understand that we will restore security. I hope this message is received there,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meeting soldiers at Mount Hermon, northern Israel, February 22, 2024. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

US Democratic Senators Chris Coons of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said Wednesday that Israel and Hezbollah have an opportunity to de-escalate if a ceasefire is reached with Hamas in Gaza.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in six civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 10 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 208 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 32 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and at least 30 civilians, three of whom were journalists, have been killed.

Israel has warned that it will no longer tolerate the presence of Hezbollah along the Lebanon frontier, where it could attempt to carry out an attack similar to the massacre committed by Hamas on October 7.

It has warned that a failure of international diplomacy to force Hezbollah away from the border will necessitate an Israeli offensive.

War erupted when Hamas-led terrorists launched a deadly onslaught on southern communities on October 7, slaughtering some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking 253 hostages to Gaza, while committing brutal atrocities.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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