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LEBANON–ISRAEL

Exchange of deep strikes, two dead in the south

The Israeli army reports that one of its soldiers was seriously wounded in Metulla.

Exchange of deep strikes, two dead in the south

Smoke over the Israeli town of Metulla after a strike from Lebanon, May 16, 2024. (Credit: Rabih Daher/AFP)

Tensions escalate. On Wednesday night, Lebanon was the target of a series of Israeli strikes, particularly in the Bekaa, deep inside the country. According to a security source quoted by L'Orient-Le Jour's Bekaa correspondent, several strikes targeted the area around Khreibeh, near Nabi Sheet, where a Hezbollah “training base” is located. This area is close to Syria.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed that an “airstrike was carried out deep inside Lebanon against a terrorist target” linked to the manufacture of “precision rockets” by Hezbollah. These strikes in eastern Lebanon follow a “drone attack” launched the previous evening by Hezbollah against military infrastructure near Tiberias, some 30 kilometers from the border with Lebanon. This rare in-depth attack was claimed by the party as retaliation for the elimination, in a targeted strike, of one of its fighters, the previous day, near Sour.

Another targeted strike

And that didn't stop Israel from striking again on Thursday. A targeted drone strike on the road between Qana and Remmadieh (Sour) left two people dead, according to a security source and witnesses at the scene. Shortly after the attack, Hezbollah announced the death of two of its members: Ali Ayoub, born in 1999 in Qana, and Mohammad Fares, born in 1990 in the southern suburbs of Beirut. A security source confirmed to L'Orient-Le Jour's correspondent in South Lebanon that the two men were killed in the strike on Qana.

The Israeli army also launched several other strikes on southern Lebanon. Artillery fire and incendiary bombs targeted the areas around Aita al-Shaab, Shihine, Hibbarieh, Houla, Kfar Shouba, Khiam, Mais al-Jabal, Rashaya al-Foukhar, Tallet al-Hamames, Wadi Slouqi and Yarine. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for at least eleven attacks against Israel on Thursday. In particular, it announced that it had launched strikes “in retaliation for the shelling in the Bekaa, with more than 60 Katyusha rockets, against the headquarters of the 210th Golan Division in Nafah, against the Kilaa air defense base and against the Yoav barracks”.

It then claimed to have carried out further attacks against Israeli army positions, saying it had struck “surveillance equipment” at each of the targeted sites, such as the “Adather” site (opposite the Lebanese village of Rmaish), “Sammaka” (in the disputed Shebaa Farms region) and the Zariit barracks (opposite the Lebanese town of Ramieh).

Hezbollah then carried out two simultaneous attacks against the Israeli “Ramia” site (also opposite Ramieh) and the “Jal al-Allam” site (opposite Naqoura). These various Israeli military infrastructures are all located some twenty kilometers from the border with Lebanon.

In the evening, the party also reported hitting a gathering of Israeli soldiers at Jal al-Allam with Burkan missiles. The Israeli army claimed that one of its soldiers was seriously injured and two others slightly wounded by a drone attack from Lebanon that exploded in the Metulla region.

According to the same source, the device hit a military vehicle. According to Haaretz, sirens sounded in several localities in northern Israel due to “air infiltration.” Against this highly inflammatory backdrop, the former president of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Joumblatt, declared that “Hezbollah is doing its duty by defending Lebanon on the front opened seven months ago in the South.”

For some time now, the Druze leader has adopted a more or less conciliatory policy towards the party. However, in an interview with the BBC, Joumblatt explained that he prefers the southern front to remain “under the control” of Hezbollah without the intervention of other armed groups. With regard to the war in the Gaza Strip, Joumblatt felt that “what is happening is a systematic displacement of the population and a destruction of all means of subsistence.” He warned that “these practices will spread from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.”

This article originally appeared in English in L'Orient-Le Jour.

Tensions escalate. On Wednesday night, Lebanon was the target of a series of Israeli strikes, particularly in the Bekaa, deep inside the country. According to a security source quoted by L'Orient-Le Jour's Bekaa correspondent, several strikes targeted the area around Khreibeh, near Nabi Sheet, where a Hezbollah “training base” is located. This area is close to Syria. An Israeli army...