Hezbollah fires 200 rockets and drones at Israel


The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has fired more than 200 rockets and attack drones into northern Israel, in response to the killing of one of its top commanders.

According to the Israeli army, one of its officers was killed in the barrage, which caused a number of fires.

The army also said it had attacked Hezbollah “military structures” and other targets in southern Lebanon in response.

Lebanese media reported that one person was killed in an Israeli drone strike in the city of Houla.

The latest barrage, which followed a barrage of 100 rockets on Wednesday afternoon, was one of the largest so far in nine months of cross-border violence, which has sparked fears of all-out war.

The Hezbollah commander killed in an Israeli airstrike near the southern Lebanese city of Tyre, Mohammed Nimah Nasser, was one of the group’s most senior figures killed in the conflict.

The Israeli military said Nasser commanded Hezbollah’s Aziz unit, which is responsible for firing rockets from southwestern Lebanon, and accused him of directing a “large number of terrorist attacks.”

He was also described as “the counterpart” to Taleb Sami Abdullah, the commander of another unit whose death last month prompted Hezbollah to fire more than 200 rockets and missiles into northern Israel in a single day.

Hezbollah members carry the coffin of Mohammed Nasser, a senior Hezbollah commander who was killed in an Israeli airstrike, in Beirut, Lebanon (July 4, 2024)Hezbollah members carry the coffin of Mohammed Nasser, a senior Hezbollah commander who was killed in an Israeli airstrike, in Beirut, Lebanon (July 4, 2024)

A senior Hezbollah official said it would strike “new locations” in Israel in response to the killing of Mohammed Nasser (Reuters)

Since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza on October 7, the day after the war began, there has been almost daily gunfights across the border between Israel and Lebanon.

Hezbollah has said it is acting in support of the Palestinian group, which is also backed by Iran. Both groups are considered terrorist organizations by Israel, the United Kingdom and other countries.

So far, more than 400 people have reportedly been killed in Lebanon, the vast majority of them Hezbollah fighters, and 25 people in Israel, mostly soldiers.

The hostilities have also displaced tens of thousands of people from border communities in northern Israel and southern Lebanon.

“The reaction to the assassination of the beloved leader Hajj Abu Nimah (Nasser)… began last night and quickly,” senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine warned at Nasser’s funeral in Beirut on Thursday.

“This series will continue to target new locations that the enemy did not expect to be hit.”

Israeli government spokesman David Mencer said the military is “countering this Hezbollah aggression.”

“We will use all possible means to restore security on our northern border,” he said at a briefing.

A spokeswoman for the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, said the exchanges were now extending to both sides of the border and called on both Israel and Hezbollah to show restraint.

“We are very concerned… because any exchange, any incident, can escalate into something bigger if there is a misunderstanding,” Kandice Ardiel told the BBC.

In recent weeks, there have been many diplomatic attempts to defuse tensions. The UN and the US warn of the potentially catastrophic consequences of a war that could involve Iran and other allied groups.

Israeli officials have repeatedly warned that they are ready for war if diplomacy fails. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Wednesday that the military would soon be ready to “take any action required in Lebanon, or to make a settlement from a position of strength.”

Hezbollah, seen as a significantly superior enemy to Hamas, has said it does not want an all-out war with Israel and will observe a ceasefire in Lebanon between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. But it has also warned Israel that it would fight “without rules” if there was a war.

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