Israel army orders evacuation of northern city after Lebanon clashes

AFP , Friday 20 Oct 2023

The Israeli army announced plans to evacuate the northern city of Kiryat Shmona on Friday, after days of clashes with Hezbollah fighters along the border with Lebanon.

Kiryat Shmona
Israeli authorities have been steadily evacuating communities across the northern frontier. Photo: Israeli media


Kiryat Shmona has a population of around 22,000 residents and is located some 2 kilometers (1 mile) from the border fence with Lebanon.

"A short while ago, the Northern Command informed the mayor of the city of the decision," the military said in a statement.

Lebanon's Hezbollah and Palestinian factions have traded cross-border fire with Israel for days, as relentless Israeli bombardments on the Gaza Strip have killed more than 3,700 Palestinians, mainly civilians, according to Palestinian health ministry figures.

Israel's military said its forces continued to target Hezbollah targets as tensions grew along the border.

Israeli authorities have been evacuating communities across the northern frontier, as reservists and columns of tanks and armoured vehicles poured into the area.

Throughout Wednesday, Hezbollah said it had launched several missiles at Israeli army posts in northern Israel and attacked a number of those along the border with gunfire.

At least one rocket landed in an open area inside Kiryat Shmona, setting off sirens in the northern town and several nearby communities. There were no reports of any injuries or damage.

The northern Israeli towns of Metula, Malkia, Kibbutz Manara, and Rosh HaNikra were among those targeted by anti-tank-guided missiles fired from southern Lebanon.

Separately, the Israeli army carried out a drone strike against what it alleged were groups launching rocket strikes from southern Lebanon at the Tel Turmus area in northern Israel, near the Israeli-annexed Shebaa Farms.

The frequent border strikes have picked up pace after an Israeli air strike on a Gaza Strip hospital killed at least 500 people, according to Palestinian health ministry figures.

The Hezbollah movement last fought a major conflict with Israel in 2006 that left deep scars and the border bristling with guns. At the time, some 1,200 died in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 in Israel, mostly soldiers.

In Gaza, more than 3,700 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed in relentless Israeli bombardments on the coastal territory, Palestinian health ministry figures say.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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