Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah said it launched simultaneous attacks on Israeli military positions along the Lebanese border on Saturday, prompting major retaliatory strikes by Israel. The escalation represents the fiercest fighting between the bitter enemies since their 2006 war.
Hezbollah has been firing rockets into Israel for weeks in support of Palestinian militant group Hamas, which is currently warring with Israel in Gaza. But the latest exchange saw some of the heaviest strikes by both sides so far.
Hezbollah Fires New Missile, Vows More Attacks
According to a Hezbollah-affiliated source, the group fired a powerful new missile not previously used, targeting Israeli sites across the frontier. This came after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah vowed Friday to step up actions against Israel over Gaza.
Nasrallah said Hezbollah’s response along the border so far “won’t be all” it does, threatening further escalation. The group has seen nearly 60 fighters killed in the clashes up to now.
Israel Responds With Airstrikes and Artillery Fire
The Israeli military confirmed it struck Hezbollah targets in Lebanon with warplanes, artillery and tank shells in retaliation for the group’s latest attack from Lebanese soil.
Plumes of smoke were seen billowing near the Lebanese town of Khiyam in footage shared by residents, who reported intensive Israeli bombing. Israel said it hit rocket caches and Hezbollah compounds.
Worst Border Violence Since 2006 War
The frontier clashesmark the most serious fighting between Israel and Hezbollah since their month-long war in 2006. Most of the recent unrest has been contained near the border area.
But the risk of wider conflict breaking out is rising, as Hezbollah threatens to open a second front alongside Hamas’ Gaza offensive. Israel has warned against this, saying it would bring devastating counter-attacks.
Lebanon Bears Brunt of Israeli Strikes
While Hezbollah operates autonomously, Israel holds Lebanon responsible for cross-border aggression. Israeli strikes have left swathes of Lebanese villages and towns battered.
Lebanon’s government has pleaded with the international community to intervene and bring about a ceasefire to avoid further civilian suffering and infrastructure damage.
But the calls have so far produced no results as the fighting drags on, leaving Lebanese citizens paying the highest price amid the bitter proxy conflict.
No Clear End in Sight to Violence
With Hezbollah vowing more attacks over Gaza, the risk remains high that border clashes could spiral into a larger conflagration engulfing Lebanon.
Israel insists it does not want war with Hezbollah currently as it focuses on Gaza. But further Hezbollah provocations could test Israel’s restraint.
For now, civilians on both sides of the border endure the consequences as the sworn enemies continue their latest feud.