Hezbollah targets Israel base to avenge assassinations in Lebanon

AFP , Tuesday 9 Jan 2024

Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance movement said it targeted an Israeli command base Tuesday in retaliation for the assassination of one of its commanders and the Hamas deputy leader.

Hezbollah fighters rise their group flags and chant slogans as they attend the funeral procession of senior Hezbollah commander Wissam Tawil, during his funeral procession in the village of Khirbet Selm, south Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. AP


Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging near-daily fire across the border since the Israeli war on Gaza broke out on October 7.

The movement said Tuesday it had targeted the "enemy's northern command centre" in the city of Safed with several drones".

It said the attack was part of its response to the assassination of Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Aruri on January 2 and of Hezbollah field commander Wissam Tawil on Monday.

The Israeli army confirmed that an aircraft had come down at one of its bases in the north and said that "no injuries or damage were reported".

On Saturday, Hezbollah said it had fired more than 60 rockets at an Israeli military base, also in response to the killing of Aruri in an Israeli strike on Beirut's southern suburbs.

Hezbollah number two Naim Qassem in a speech Tuesday warned that Israel's wave of targeted killings "cannot lead to a phase of retreat but rather to a push forward for the resistance".

He described Tawil as a member of Hezbollah's elite al-Radwan Brigade who had fought on several fronts.

On Tuesday morning, an Israeli strike targeted a car in the south Lebanon village of Ghandouria, the National News Agency (NNA) said.

The strike left "three Hezbollah fighters dead" a security source told AFP, requesting anonymity because of security concerns.

Tawil, a top Hezbollah commander, was set to be buried in his south Lebanon village later on Tuesday.

He was the highest-ranking Hezbollah member to be killed since October 7.

Hezbollah said Tawil was involved in the capture of Israeli soldiers which triggered the group's last war with Israel in 2006 as well as "specific operations... in Syria".

He had also "directed numerous operations" against Israeli forces since Israel's war on Gaza began, Hezbollah said.

The three months of cross-border violence have killed more than 180 people in Lebanon, including over 135 Hezbollah fighters, but also more than 20 civilians including three journalists, according to an AFP tally.

In northern Israel, nine soldiers and at least four civilians have been killed, according to Israeli authorities.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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