Israeli strikes said to kill 2 in Syria, flatten building in Lebanon, wounding 5

Syrian state media reports strike on country’s south, with rights group claiming the target was Hezbollah; Lebanese state media says 2-story building in Nabatieh destroyed

Footage shows smoke billowing over a village in south Lebanon near the border with Israel following an Israeli bombardment, June 26, 2024. (STRINGER/AFPTV/AFP)

The Israeli military allegedly struck targets in Syria and Lebanon on Wednesday night, according to state media in the two countries.

Two people were killed in an Israeli strike on southern Syria, the official SANA news agency reported, citing a military source.

“At around 11:40 p.m., the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial assault from the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting a number of positions in the southern region, killing two people and injuring a soldier,” SANA said, after initially reporting one death.

It said Syrian air defense had also shot down some missiles, without giving further details.

The strike was reportedly near Sayyida Zeinab, which is home to an important Shiite sanctuary and is defended by pro-Iranian militias and the Syrian army.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the strike targeted the service center of a foundation affiliated with pro-Iranian groups, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group, and killed three people, including an elderly woman, with another 11 injured.

SOHR, run by a single person, has regularly been accused by Syrian war analysts of false reporting and inflating casualty numbers as well as inventing them wholesale.

Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in the country, mainly targeting army positions and Iran-backed fighters, including from Hezbollah.

The border fence at the tripoint border between Israel, Syria and Jordan, northern Israel, on February 15, 2024. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

Meanwhile, an Israeli strike on Wednesday wounded five people when it hit a two-story building in the town of Nabatieh in southern Lebanon, according to Lebanese state media, which said Israel had carried out some 10 strikes on border regions during the day.

The strike destroyed the building in Nabatieh around 10 p.m., Lebanon’s national news agency said, adding that five people who were in the vicinity of the structure were wounded and taken to hospital.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on either strike.

Hezbollah on Wednesday claimed six attacks against Israeli military positions in the border region, amid fears of an all-out war between Israel and the Iran-backed terror group.

Israeli local authorities confirmed that several anti-tank guided missiles fired by Hezbollah on Wednesday caused some damage.

Relatives visit the graves of killed Hezbollah fighters during Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice in the southern Lebanese town of Naqoura near the border with Israel on June 17, 2024. (Photo by Mahmoud ZAYYAT / AFP)

Strikes have increased since war broke out on October 7 between Israel and the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip, when thousands of terrorists invaded southern Israel from Gaza, killing some 1,200 people and taking 251 hostages.

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.

Leaders of the Lebanese terror group have said that if an agreement is reached with Hamas to end the war in Gaza, Hezbollah will also be willing to cease attacks on Israel.

But Israel has said that Hezbollah must withdraw north of the Litani River, some 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of the border with Israel, in accordance with United Nations Security Resolution 1701, before the tens of thousands of Israelis displaced by the fighting can safely return home.

Diplomatic efforts by the United States and, to a lesser extent, France, to reach that outcome have so far failed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and the head of the IDF’s Northern Command Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin visit the northern border with Lebanon, June 25, 2024. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in 10 civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 15 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 349 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 64 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and dozens of civilians have been killed.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said earlier this month that “no place” in Israel would be safe in such a war, and that the terror group would fight Israel with “no rules” and “no ceilings.”

Hezbollah has an estimated 150,000 rockets with which to target Israeli cities, which could potentially overwhelm Israel’s air defense system.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said during a visit to Washington on Wednesday that Israel seeks a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but that Israel’s military is capable of taking Lebanon “back to the Stone Age” should war break out.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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