Israel strikes east Lebanon for first time since Gaza war: Security source

AFP , Monday 26 Feb 2024

Israel struck Hezbollah targets near the Lebanese city of Baalbek on Monday, a security source told AFP, in the first strike on Lebanon's east in almost five months of cross-border clashes.

An Israeli Air Force fighter jet flying over the border area with south Lebanon
An Israeli Air Force fighter jet flying over the border area with south Lebanon. AFP


"An Israeli strike hit a building housing a Hezbollah civilian institution," in a Baalbek suburb, the source said, requesting anonymity because they are not allowed to speak to the press.

A second Israeli strike hit a warehouse near Baalbek belonging to the Iran-backed group, the source said.

The Israeli army said it is "currently striking Hezbollah terror targets deep inside Lebanon".

Monday's strikes marked the first attack on Hezbollah outside Lebanon's south since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza.

The city of Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley is a Hezbollah bastion bordering government-held Syria -- a major Hezbollah ally.

Earlier Monday, the group said it shot down a "large" Israeli drone in southern Lebanon.

Since October 8, Hezbollah and its arch-foe Israel have been exchanging near-daily fire but strikes have been largely contained to the border area -- although Israel has on occasion launched strikes elsewhere in Lebanon, including in Beirut.

At least 278 people have been killed on the Lebanese side since fighting erupted, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 44 civilians.

On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed, according to the Israeli army.

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