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Israel strikes southern Lebanon after Hezbollah attacks Shebaa farms


A convoy of Israeli military vehicles rides on a road close to Israel’s border with Lebanon in northern Israel, October 8, 2023 (L). Smoke rises from Halta village as seen from Ibl al-Saqi village in southern Lebanon, near the border with Israel, southern Lebanon, October 8, 2023(R).—Reuters 

Israel fired barrages of artillery into southern Lebanon on Sunday after Hezbollah targeted three Israeli military positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

On Saturday, the most serious attack in years, as many as 370 Palestinians have been martyred in aerial bombing by Israeli jets on the residential areas in the besieged Gaza Strip during the past 24 hours, with the Jerusalem press office on Sunday claiming over 600 lives on its side during the conflict´s worst escalation in decades.

The health ministry of the Palestinian authority said at least 370 Palestinians have been martyred, including 20 children, and nearly 2,000 wounded by Israeli air strikes in Gaza since Saturday.

Hezbollah, a powerful armed party with alleged ties to Iran, said it had launched guided rockets and artillery onto three posts in the Shebaa Farms “in solidarity” with the Palestinian people.

The Israeli military said on Sunday it fired artillery into an area of Lebanon where cross-border mortar fire was launched. “IDF (Israel Defence Forces) artillery is currently striking the area in Lebanon from where a shooting was carried out,” it said.

Israel’s military said one of its drones struck a Hezbollah post in the area of Har Dov, an area in Shebaa.

“At this point, there is no further threat in Har Dov or the northern arena,” IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said in televised remarks, adding that the military remained on high alert.

Israel has held the Shebaa Farms, a 15-square-mile (39-square-km) patch of land, since 1967. Both Syria and Lebanon claim the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, said it had “detected several rockets fired from southeast Lebanon toward Israeli-occupied territory” as well as artillery fire from Israel into Lebanon in response.

“We are in contact with authorities on both sides of the Blue Line, at all levels, to contain the situation and avoid a more serious escalation,” spokesperson Andrea Tenenti said.

The Blue Line is the demarcation line between Lebanon and Israel, marking where Israeli forces withdrew when they left south Lebanon in 2000.

On Saturday, UNIFIL said it had enhanced its presence in southern Lebanon following developments in Israel and Gaza, including its operations to counter rocket launches.

The UN’s special coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka said on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that she was “deeply concerned” by the exchange of fire and urged parties to “shield Lebanon and its people from further conflagration.”

Hezbollah, which effectively controls southern Lebanon, said on Saturday it was in “direct contact” with leaders of Palestinian “resistance” groups and that it saw Palestinian attacks on Israel as a “decisive response to Israel’s continued occupation and a message to those seeking normalisation with Israel.



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