Northern Israel targeted with multiple rockets, drones from Lebanon; none hurt

Sirens activated repeatedly in the Galilee amid ongoing attacks; minor damage reported; air force shoots down drone apparently launched from Iraq

File: Smoke billows following an Israeli airstrike in the area of the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh near the border with Israel on May 5, 2024 (Rabih DAHER / AFP)
File: Smoke billows following an Israeli airstrike in the area of the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh near the border with Israel on May 5, 2024 (Rabih DAHER / AFP)

Northern Israel was targeted multiple times from Lebanon on Tuesday with rockets and “suspicious aerial targets” — believed to be explosive-laden drones launched by Hezbollah — setting off numerous sirens in the Galilee Panhandle.

One of the apparent drones was downed by air defenses, another struck an area near Yiftah, causing a fire, and others caused minor damage at unspecified locations, the Israel Defense Forces said. Another two drones struck open areas, according to the military.

The IDF said there were no injuries in the attacks.

They came after Israel began an incursion into southern Gaza’s Rafah overnight, taking control of the city’s border crossing with Egypt. Hezbollah has been conducting near-daily attacks on Israel since October 8, saying it is doing so to support Gaza as Israel wages war against Hamas there following the terror group’s October 7 devastating assault on southern Israel.

On Monday two reserves soldiers were killed in a Hezbollah-claimed explosive-laden drone attack against an army position near Metula in northern Israel.

The pair were named as Master Sgt. (res.) Dan Kamkagi, 31, from Kfar Oranim, and Master Sgt. (res) Nahman Natan Hertz, 31, from Elazar. Both served in the 551st Brigade’s 6551st Battalion.

The army said it attempted, but failed, to intercept the explosive drone that struck and killed the soldiers. Prior to the deadly drone attack, a barrage of some 30 rockets was launched from Lebanon at the Golan Heights, the IDF said.

Following the attack, the IDF said fighter jets struck a building used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon’s Srebbine, as well as a rocket-launching post in Ayta ash-Shab.

The army also said it carried out strikes in southern Lebanon overnight, hitting  a number of Hezbollah positions.

Since October, the clashes on the border have resulted in nine civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 13 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 290 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 56 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and at least 60 civilians have been killed.

Family and friends of Israeli soldier Master Sgt. (res) Nahman Natan Hertz, 31, attend his funeral at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem on May 7, 2024. Hertz was killed in a Hezbollah drone strike on Metula (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel has threatened to go to war to force Hezbollah away from the border if it does not retreat and continues to threaten northern communities, from where some 70,000 people have been evacuated to avoid the fighting.

Also Tuesday, evacuated residents expressed anger at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he reportedly told the cabinet that it would not matter if they only returned home a few months after the September 1 start of the new school year.

During the meeting, war cabinet minister Benny Gantz reportedly urged a decision that would allow residents to return to their homes by September 1.

“Who said September 1 is the goal date?” Netanyahu was quoted by Channel 12 as answering. “Why do we keep taking about this date, what will happen if they go back a few months later?”

After Gantz replied that it meant that residents would miss the opening of the school year, Netanyahu replied: “I’m aware of the school year argument. It can take longer than that.”

“Only someone who has never lived in a 27-square-meter room with four children for the past 7 months could be so disconnected,” Matan Davidian from Shlomi told Channel 12.

Upper Galilee Regional Council head Giora Zaltz told the channel that he was pushing for residents to return home even without a government okay.

Separately, the military said Tuesday morning that Israeli fighter jets had intercepted a drone flying toward Israel from the “eastern direction.”

The IDF said the drone was tracked throughout the incident until it was shot down, and it did not enter Israeli airspace.

The Iran-backed Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed to have launched a drone at Israel overnight, targeting a military base.

It marked the second night in a row that a drone apparently launched from Iraq was shot down by the IDF.

Amid the war, several drones have been launched at Israel by Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria. Iran itself also carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel last month with hundreds of drones and missiles.

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