ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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Israeli civilian killed by anti-tank missile in north as Hezbollah attacks continue

IDF responds with attack helicopters, tanks and artillery at source of fire; Netanyahu tells soldiers Lebanon will share Gaza’s fate if Hezbollah opens wider war

Smoke rises after an Israeli strike over a forested area near Alma Al-Shaab in southern Lebanon, on December 6, 2023. (AFP)
Smoke rises after an Israeli strike over a forested area near Alma Al-Shaab in southern Lebanon, on December 6, 2023. (AFP)

An Israeli civilian was killed after Hezbollah terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at his vehicle near the Lebanese border Thursday.

The 60-year-old man, identified as Eyal Uzan, was hit in an agricultural field near Moshav Mattat and was taken by the military to Fasuta Junction where they waited for Magen David Adom paramedics to arrive.

MDA paramedics declared Uzan dead from his wounds, the ambulance service said in a statement.

In response to the incident, the Israel Defense Forces said it struck the source of the fire with attack helicopters, tanks, and artillery.

On Thursday night, two soldiers were lightly hurt in a Hezbollah anti-tank missile attack near the community of Shtula on the Lebanon border. In response, the IDF said it struck a series of Hezbollah sites, including a position used to fire projectiles at Israel earlier in the day.

Numerous projectiles were shot from Lebanon at northern Israel over the course of the day, with the IDF saying it targeted the sources of the fire.

The military said IDF troops carried out airstrikes against a series of Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon due to the attacks, including a command center rocket launch sites, observation posts, and other infrastructure belonging to the Iranian proxy group.

Eyal Uzan (Courtesy)

The army also said two rockets were fired from Syria on Thursday evening, setting off sirens in the Golan Heights town of Buq’ata.

Both projectiles landed in open areas, causing no damage.

Hezbollah claimed to have targeted a number of IDF positions along the northern border.

The last civilian to be killed by attacks in the north was 56-year-old Shalom Aboudi in early November. Aboudi was an electrical worker who came to repair lines downed by previous strikes.

Since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, when thousands of terrorists massacred some 1,200 people in Israel and took some 240 hostages, Israel’s northern front on the border with Lebanon has heated up under constant Hezbollah-led attacks. Daily exchanges of fire with Hezbollah, Hamas and other terror groups are raising fears of a broader conflagration.

A man checks the damage in the aftermath of an Israeli strike in the southern Lebanese border village of Mais el-Jabal on December 6, 2023. (Hasan FNEICH / AFP)

Since the cross-border exchanges began, more than 110 people have been killed on the Lebanese side, mostly Hezbollah fighters and more than a dozen civilians, according to an AFP tally. Hezbollah has said that 79 of its members have been killed since the war’s outbreak in southern Lebanon.

On the Israeli side, six soldiers and four civilians have been killed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the IDF’s Northern Command and the Lebanese front on Thursday and held a security assessment with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.

During the visit the prime minister vowed the military would restore security to the north.

“If Hezbollah chooses to open a wider war, then it will single-handedly turn Lebanon and Beirut, not far from here, into Gaza and Khan Younis,” Netanyahu told soldiers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi at a security assessment at the military’s Northern Command, December 7, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Meeting local leaders of northern border towns on Wednesday, Gallant said Israel plans to force Hezbollah to move away from the border and does not expect residents of northern Israel to return to their homes before it does so.

According to multiple Hebrew media reports, Gallant told the mayors that the plan was to ensure Hezbollah forces are not present south of the Litani River, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended 2006’s Second Lebanon War.

Gallant said a diplomatic solution to cross-border tensions with Lebanon was possible, but if it could not be achieved, Israel would deal a heavy blow to Hezbollah in south Lebanon.

“When we complete the fighting in Gaza, we will be in a different situation, in which the military efforts will be redirected largely to the north,” Gallant told the group, in remarks provided by his office.

Resolution 1701 barred Hezbollah from maintaining a military presence south of the Litani, which is located some 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of the Israel-Lebanon border. Hezbollah has blatantly violated that resolution and regularly launches attacks on Israel from near the border. The UN force charged with enforcing the resolution, UNIFIL, has done little to push back against such actions.

Some 80,000 Israeli residents of communities located up to 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) south of the Lebanon border have been evacuated and are temporarily staying in hotels and other facilities, with funding from the state. Many have voiced concern that they will be exposed to attack once they return home if Hezbollah is not pushed away from the border area.

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