Israeli strike on southern Lebanon takes out 4 Hezbollah fighters including commander

IDF says strike in city of Naqoura, near border with Israel, targeted terror operatives manning military site

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

A picture taken from northern Israel shows smoke billowing from across the border in south Lebanon on January 3, 2024. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)
A picture taken from northern Israel shows smoke billowing from across the border in south Lebanon on January 3, 2024. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

A Hezbollah commander and three other members of the Iran-backed terror group were killed late Wednesday in an Israeli strike in the southern Lebanon city of Naqoura.

Hussein Yazbak, who oversees the group’s operations in the city, close to the Israeli border, was killed in the strike, Hezbollah confirmed. The other three fatalities were named as Ibrahim Fahas, Hadi Reda and Hussein Ghazala.

The strike brought the death toll in Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon on Wednesday to nine Hezbollah members, in one of the deadliest days for the group since it began exchanging cross-border fire with Israel in October.

According to the IDF, the strike in Naqoura targeted “military infrastructure” manned by the terror group’s operatives. A video released by the IDF showed a building in the southern Lebanon city being hit by an airstrike.

The IDF also said it struck Hezbollah’s observation capabilities in the area, and targeted another terror cell operating in the southern Lebanese village of Yaroun.

Several projectiles were also fired from Lebanon at northern Israel on Wednesday night, which the IDF said all landed in open areas near the community of Goren.

Earlier Wednesday, Hezbollah announced the deaths of five other members of the terror group as a result of Israeli strikes, as the sides continued to exchange fire across the increasingly volatile border.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the Lebanese border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

On Wednesday alone, Hezbollah said it carried out 11 separate attacks on northern Israel.

Hezbollah has also threatened to respond to the alleged Israeli assassination of senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri, in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday.

The skirmishes on the border since October 7 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 147 members killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 19 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and at least 19 civilians, three of whom were journalists, have been killed.

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