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LEBANON

Israel is 'ready' for a 'very intense' operation at the Lebanese border, warns Netanyahu.

Israeli white phosphorus bombings were reported in southern Lebanon, while Hezbollah launches a dozen attacks on northern Israel.

Israel is 'ready' for a 'very intense' operation at the Lebanese border, warns Netanyahu.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel is "ready for a very intense operation" on its northern border, where daily exchanges of fire between the Israeli army and Hezbollah have intensified in recent days.

Wednesday was marked by numerous Israeli bombings in southern Lebanon. Several residents told our correspondent in the region that white phosphorus munitions were fired near their villages, such as Houla and Markaba in the afternoon.

Hezbollah carried out over a dozen attacks on northern Israel throughout the day, including one in Elkoch, an Israeli town opposite the Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil), carried out by a squadron of exploding drones and left at least seven people injured.

According to Reuters, the Israeli army reported at least seven injured in Hurfeish, a town neighboring Elkoch. One of them was in critical condition, according to doctors.

Witnesses said that a football field might have been hit in this strike, the agency added.

‘All Hezbollah strongholds should burn’

Netanyahu’s statement came amid the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas. It also came as rocket and drone fire by the party caused several fires in northern Israel earlier this week.

"We are ready for a very intense operation in the north. One way or another, we will restore security there," Netanyahu stated during a visit near the border.

Netanyahu's far-right allies, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich had both called for urgent action to restore security in northern Israel.

"They are setting fire here. All Hezbollah strongholds should also burn and be destroyed. WAR," Ben-Gvir wrote Tuesday in a message on Telegram.

On Monday, Smotrich had stated that the Israeli army should invade Lebanon and push "hundreds of thousands of Lebanese" out of the area.

On Wednesday morning, Israeli drones fired two rockets at the hill overlooking the southern district of Khiam (Marjayoun). The civil defense of al-Rissala Scouts, affiliated with the Amal movement, reported helping to extinguish a fire following a white phosphorus attack near Markaba.

Residents also reported white phosphorus shells and flares fired over the disputed Shebaa Farms and the hills of Kfar Shuba. Other residents reported shellfire on the outskirts of Naqoura (Sour) and Rachaya al-Foukhar (Hasbaya).

Hezbollah announced it launched a dozen attacks against Israeli military positions on Wednesday, including a "guided missile" strike on an "Iron Dome (air defense system) platform in the Ramot Naftali barracks."

Regarding the exploding drone attacks on Elkoch and Hurfeish, Hezbollah said they were carried out "in response to enemy aggressions and assassinations, namely yesterday in Naqoura." It claimed to have "targeted positions of enemy officers and soldiers," causing deaths and injuries among them.

Around 7:30 p.m., the Israeli army fired heavy machine guns from the Hadab Yarine position at the villages of Dhaira, Yarin, and Boustane (Sour) and bombarded Dhaira and Alma Shaab (Sour). Israeli bombardments also hit the outskirts of the villages of Naqoura, Jibbein, and Shihine (Sour).

Israel has killed 330 Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon and Syria since the clashes began on Oct. 8, as well as 69 civilians in Lebanon, according to our count. The exchanges of fire have intensified in recent weeks, with the Israeli army conducting increasingly deep strikes in Lebanon and stepping up targeted strikes against Hezbollah members in recent days.

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

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel is "ready for a very intense operation" on its northern border, where daily exchanges of fire between the Israeli army and Hezbollah have intensified in recent days.Wednesday was marked by numerous Israeli bombings in southern Lebanon. Several residents told our correspondent in the region that white phosphorus munitions were...