Hezbollah fires rockets at Israel in initial response to assassination of Hamas top leader

AP , Saturday 6 Jan 2024

Lebanon’s Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets at northern Israel on Saturday, warning that the barrage was its initial response to Israel's assassination of a top leader from Hamas group in Lebanon's capital earlier this week.

Lebanese village of Dhayra along the Israeli border, shows buildings in the Lebanese town of Tair Ha
Lebanese village of Dhayra along the Israeli border, shows buildings in the Lebanese town of Tair Harfa as smoke billows over northern Israel. AFP


The rocket attack came a day after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that his group must retaliate for the assassination of Saleh Arouri, the deputy political leader of Hamas.

Nasrallah said that if Hezbollah does not retaliate for Arouri’s assassination in its stronghold south of Beirut, all of Lebanon would be vulnerable to Israeli attack.

Nasrallah appeared to be making the case for a response to the Lebanese public, even at the risk of escalating the fighting between Hezbollah and Israel. But he gave no indication of how or when the militants would act.

Hezbollah said Saturday that it launched 62 rockets toward an air surveillance base on Mount Meron and that it scored direct hits. The Israeli army said about 40 rockets were fired toward the area of Meron but made no mention of a base. It said it struck the cell that fired the rockets.

The escalating cross-border exchanges came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken began a Middle East trip to prevent the Israeli war on Gaza, now in its 14th week, from spreading across the region.

Blinken was in Turkey on Saturday for meetings with the country's president and foreign minister. It's Blinken's fourth Middle East trip in three months.

International criticism of Israel’s brutal war in Gaza has been mounting, while the U.S. is increasingly worried about the end game. This comes in addition to Washington's worries about a recent explosion in attacks in the Red Sea, Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq.

* This story has been edited by Ahram Online.

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