Lebanon's Hezbollah says two fighters killed by Israeli fire

AFP , Monday 3 Jun 2024

Hezbollah said two of its fighters were killed by Israeli fire Monday, after Lebanese official media reported fatalities in Israeli strikes on a car and a motorcycle in the country's south.

A Lebanese firefighter
A Lebanese firefighter from the Islamic Sanitary Committee douses a fire that swept over fields hit by Israeli shelling in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel, on June 3, 2024, amid ongoing cross-border clashes between Israeli troops and Hezbollah fighters. AFP

 

Almost eight months of regular cross-border clashes between the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, a Hamas ally, and Israel have intensified in recent days.

Lebanon's official National News Agency (NNA) said on Monday that "an enemy drone strike targeted a motorcycle in Naqura," a coastal town near the Israeli border, later reporting "one person was killed and another wounded".

In another attack, "an enemy drone targeted a car" near the southern village of Zrariyeh, "killing one person", the NNA said, also reporting Israeli strikes in the country's east.

It did not say whether the dead were civilians or fighters.

Hezbollah said two of its fighters who either hailed from or lived near the site of the strike on the car had been killed by Israeli fire, without providing further details.

The group said it launched "a squadron of explosive-laden drones" at northern Israeli army positions "in response to the assassination carried out by the Israeli enemy this afternoon in the Zrariyeh area".

The border clashes began after the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip started on October 7.

Israel has previously targeted Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon as well as allied Palestinian and Lebanese militants in cars and on motorcycles.

The latest violence came as Iran's acting foreign minister Ali Bagheri was visiting Lebanon, where he was expected to meet Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Iran supports several armed groups in the region including the Shia Muslim movement Hezbollah and Palestinian factions including Hamas.

Bagheri was on his first foreign trip in the position since a helicopter crash last month killed Iran's top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, along with Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi and other officials.

Also on Monday, the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said she discussed with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib the "urgency for the parties to return to the cessation of hostilities".

On Sunday, Hezbollah said its fighters had bombarded two army positions in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights after deadly Israeli strikes on south Lebanon, which an official told AFP killed two shepherds.

The violence since early October has killed at least 453 people in Lebanon, including many fighters, according to an AFP tally.

On the Israeli side, at least 14 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed, according to the army.

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