Officer seriously wounded, 2 troops lightly hurt in Hezbollah missile attack

Iran-backed Lebanese terror group fires anti-tank missile at military base near Kiryat Shmona, also strikes house in Metula; Israeli jets reportedly fly over Beirut

This picture taken from a position near the border in northern Israel shows smoke billowing during Israeli strikes on the village of Khiam in southern Lebanon on February 8, 2024 in response to Hezbollah anti-tank missile fire (Jalaa Marey / AFP)
This picture taken from a position near the border in northern Israel shows smoke billowing during Israeli strikes on the village of Khiam in southern Lebanon on February 8, 2024 in response to Hezbollah anti-tank missile fire (Jalaa Marey / AFP)

A non-commissioned officer was seriously wounded and two more soldiers were lightly hurt by a Hezbollah anti-tank missile attack in the Kiryat Shmona area in the north of the country, the IDF announced Thursday.

The soldiers were injured when the missile hit the nearby Biranit military base.

Other projectiles were also fired at Kiryat Shmona, Mount Hermon and the border town of Metula, where Hebrew media reported that an anti-tank missile hit a house.

No casualties were reported in Metula.

Incoming rocket sirens were also activated in several other northern communities, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

The IDF said fighter jets carried out strikes on a building and other infrastructure used by Hezbollah in the south Lebanon town of Khiam from which the projectiles were fired.

It said troops also shelled the launch sites with artillery.

Videos circulating on social media apparently showed Israeli jets flying low over Beirut, with the Kan public broadcaster noting the reports of Israeli aerial activity over the Lebanese capital came as General Hassan Awde was named as the new chief of staff of Lebanon’s military.

The Kiryat Shmona municipality asked the few residents who have not evacuated the city to seek refuge in shelters.

Hezbollah-led forces have been attacking Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis since October 8, a day after its ally Palestinian terror group Hamas launched its October 7 massacre, killing 1,200 people across southern Israel and abducting 253 people. Hezbollah says its attacks are to support Gaza amid the war Hamas triggered.

The Lebanese Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported Thursday that the fighting has cost Lebanon $1.2 billion in damages according to a non-government investigation. Costs have been incurred from damage to infrastructure and buildings as well as agricultural areas. The closure of various institutes and business activities was estimated to have cost $300 million.

The fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people in Israel who were evacuated from border communities.

The latest clashes came a day after Lebanon’s state media said Israeli strikes in Khiam killed one civilian and wounded two others.

“Two civilians were wounded and a third killed in an enemy drone strike on a house in Khiam” about six kilometers (four miles) from the border, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported Wednesday.

An AFP photographer in the area reported a series of strikes on Khiam, with one image showing smoke billowing from four positions in the village at once.

Israeli military spokesman Avichay Adraee said the army attacked a series of Hezbollah targets in the Khiam area.

“A sixth of all rocket launches from Lebanese territory since the start of fighting were launched from the vicinity of Khiam,” Adraee said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

The NNA said Israel also struck several other sites in south Lebanon near the border on Wednesday, including a water pumping station in the Wazzani plain at the border.

In recent weeks, several foreign government officials have visited Beirut amid concerns the Gaza war could spark a wider conflict involving Iranian allies around the Middle East.

Top Israeli officials have repeatedly threatened to go to war in Lebanon after the campaign to root out Hamas in Gaza is over, with the aim of driving Hezbollah away from the border in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Israel has said it cannot tolerate Hezbollah forces along its border, where they could launch a murderous attack on civilians in similar vein to Hamas’s October 7 onslaught.

It has increasingly warned that if the international community does not push Hezbollah away from the border through diplomatic means, Israel will take action.

On Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne warned officials in Beirut that Israel was threatening war on its northern neighbor to return citizens displaced by cross-border fire, Lebanon’s foreign minister said.

The previous day, Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz told Sejourne in Jerusalem that “time is running out” to reach a diplomatic solution in south Lebanon.

Israel has repeatedly bombarded Lebanese border villages in response to Hezbollah’s attacks, killing 227 people, mostly Hezbollah fighters but also 27 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

On the Israeli side, 15 people have been killed in the northern border area —  nine soldiers and six civilians.

Most Popular
read more: