Smoke rises from Dhayra village after Israeli shelling as pictured from the Lebanese town of Marwahin, near the border with Israel, southern Lebanon, October 11, 2023.

Israel Hits 40 Hezbollah Targets As Border Fighting Escalates

Wednesday, 04/24/2024

Israeli artillery and fighter jet hit around 40 targets in southern Lebanon on Wednesday as intense fighting continued to escalate, with Hezbollah firing dozens of rockets at an Israeli border village.

The first large-scale conflict between the Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel since 2006 broke out immediately after war erupted in Gaza last October, stirring concern about the risk of a wider and more destructive conflict between the heavily armed foes.

The Israeli military said the strikes around Ayta al-Shaab, about 3 km (1.6 miles) inside the Lebanese border, had hit infrastructure including storage facilities and weapons in an area it said was used extensively by Hezbollah forces.

"There is continuous offensive action by IDF forces in all of southern Lebanon as well as in other parts of Lebanon. The operational results are very impressive," Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said in a statement following an operational meeting at the military's Northern Command.

He said half of Hezbollah's commanders in southern Lebanon had been killed by Israeli forces.

A Hezbollah official dismissed the assertion as "completely worthless" and aimed only to boost Israeli morale. He said the group regularly published pictures and biographical details of fighters killed in the fighting.

On Wednesday, the movement held a funeral for a senior commander, Hussein Azkoul, killed earlier this week by Israel.

Speaking at the funeral, senior Hezbollah politician Hassan Fadlallah indicated that Azkoul had played a role in developing Hezbollah's drone and missile capabilities, taking the battle with Israel into "a new phase".

Israeli strikes have killed some 250 Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon since October 7, in addition to a further 30 killed in Israeli strikes in neighbouring Syria. Overall, this exceeds Hezbollah's losses in the 2006 war with Israel.

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