Top NewsMiddle East crisis: As border clashes intensify, Hezbollah fires rockets into northern...

Middle East crisis: As border clashes intensify, Hezbollah fires rockets into northern Israel again

Hezbollah responded to Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon on Thursday in what the Israeli military said was Hezbollah’s most intense rocket and drone attack in more than 8 months of hostilities.

It was the second consecutive day of attacks in a conflict that has raised fears of a full-scale war, even as Israel continues to press its military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

It was not immediately clear how many weapons Hezbollah, the powerful militia and political faction backed by Iran, launched into Israel on Thursday. But al-Manar, the group’s broadcaster, reported at one point that more than 100 people had been shot in a coordinated attack targeting several Israeli military installations. Hezbollah said the attack included several drones targeting Israel’s northern military headquarters.

Israel’s military said in the afternoon that Hezbollah had fired more than 40 rockets across the border, but the barrage continued into the evening. Hours later, Israel did not update the number, but a military spokesman said it was Hezbollah’s most serious attack since October. He didn’t immediately explain.

At least four people were wounded in Thursday’s attack, according to Israel’s military and its emergency service, Magan David Adom. The military said in the afternoon that its air defenses had shot down several of the weapons, but that some had penetrated.

The attacks have ignited wildfires on both sides of the border, where more than 150,000 people have fled their homes due to daily attacks by Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters.

Israelis look at smoke and fire following a cross-border attack by Hezbollah in Katzrin, Golan Heights, on Thursday.debt…Ayal Margolin/Reuters

On Tuesday, an Israeli strike targeted and killed one of Hezbollah’s senior commanders, Taleb Abdullah, prompting the group to increase attacks on Israel in retaliation. On Wednesday, Israel fired more than 200 rockets at Israel, according to the military, but they did little damage.

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The Israeli military said Thursday that its warplanes struck “Hezbollah military structures” in Lebanese border villages overnight.

Israeli officials have threatened to take strong action against Hezbollah. But so far, both sides have called off full-scale fighting.

The United States, France and other mediators, warning of the risk of a regional war, have sought to advance a diplomatic solution between Israel and Hezbollah that could restore peace on both sides of the border. But analysts say a deal is unlikely as long as Israel’s campaign in Gaza continues.

On Thursday, residents of southern Gaza reported heavy bombardment by the Israeli army.

Said Lulu, who took refuge in the southern part of Al-Mawasi – an area designated as a “humanitarian zone” for Israeli citizens – said the attacks took place between midnight and 6am. Margin of al-Mawasi.

“We are very concerned,” Mr. Lulu, 37, said. “This is supposed to be a safe area, if they attack here we have nowhere else to go.”

Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, reported that Israel had intensified missile and artillery attacks on al-Mawazi, where many Gazans had sought refuge and heeded Israeli warnings near Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of people had taken refuge earlier. War.

The Israeli military denied the Wafa report, saying it had not attacked the “humanitarian area” of al-Mawasi and was continuing operations in Rafah, where its soldiers were engaged in “face-to-face encounters”. with Hamas fighters.

Fighting has raged in Rafah since early May, when Israeli soldiers began advancing into the city’s center in what Israel says is a necessary move to defeat Hamas’ remaining battalions and destroy the group’s infrastructure.

Palestinians walk past destroyed buildings in the al-Burej refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Wednesday.debt…Eyad Baba/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

Israel has said it has not attacked areas designated as safe zones and has posted maps on social media and dropped leaflets on Gaza to make clear where the zones are.

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But aid workers noted that Gazans have limited access to mobile phones and the Internet. Some residents said they had never seen the leaflets, while others said they were confused by the numbering system the Israeli military uses to define “humanitarian zones”.

Jonathan Reyes And Michael Levenson Contributed report.

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