Shelling and rocket fire on the Israeli Lebanese border on January 6, 2024

Israel, Hezbollah Exchange Fire Across Lebanon Border

Saturday, 01/06/2024

Mideast tensions remained high as Iranian-backed Hezbollah group said on Saturday it had fired rockets at Israel, which responded by striking a "terrorist cell."

Shortly after rocket sirens sounded across northern Israel, the Israeli military said that "approximately 40 launches from Lebanon toward the area of Meron in northern Israel were identified". There were no reports of casualties or damage.

Meanwhile, top US and EU diplomats visited the region to seek ways to halt spillover from the Gaza war. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the European Union's senior diplomat Josep Borrell were both in the region on separate diplomatic missions to stop the three-month-old Gaza war spilling over into Lebanon, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and Red Sea shipping lanes.

Israel and Hezbollah often trade fire across the Lebanese border, the West Bank is seething with emotion and the Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen seem determined to continue attacks on Red Sea shipping lanes until Israel stops bombarding Gaza.

Hezbollah said it had hit a key Israeli observation post with 62 rockets as a "preliminary response" to the killing of Hamas' deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri on Tuesday.

Tensions have been especially high since Arouri was killed by a drone in the southern suburbs of Beirut, a stronghold of Hamas' Lebanese ally Hezbollah, in an attack widely attributed to Israel.

Israel's military said it had responded to the rocket attacks with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strike on "the terrorist cell responsible for the launches toward the area of Metula".

Israeli fighter jets and troops also struck a series of Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, hitting a launch post, military sites, and "terrorist infrastructure".

Reporting by Reuters

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