South Lebanon village shaken by deadly Israeli strike

AFP , Friday 14 Jun 2024

Plumes of smoke were still billowing Friday over a south Lebanon village after a deadly Israeli strike as shopkeepers swept shattered glass and vowed to stay put despite soaring cross-border violence.

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Israeli security forces deploy along a road near the site where rockets fired from south Lebanon landed near Kfar Szold in the Upper Galilee in northern Israel on June 14, 2024. AFP

 

Jannata had been largely spared more than eight months of clashes between Hezbollah militants and Israeli forces as war rages in Gaza, but the Lebanese village was shaken by an overnight strike that officials say killed two civilians.

"We were sitting on the balcony at night, and we felt a rocket fly over our heads. Then the world started to shake," resident Khadija Husseini told AFP.

On Friday morning, she found that her clothing store had been damaged in the strike which targeted a building about 200 metres (650 feet) away.

"There was shattered glass everywhere" from the shop window, she said.

Lebanon's official National News Agency said a building was hit in Jannata, 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Israeli border.

The village's deputy mayor, Hassan Shur, told AFP that two civilians, both women, were killed in a nearby building.

They were the latest fatalities in months of near-daily exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Hamas ally, since October 7.

Rescuers said at least nine people were wounded in the strike on Jannata, including an infant and two children.

An AFP photographer said a three-storey building had been completely destroyed.

Residents said the targeted building was uninhabited, but housed a wood warehouse that had caught fire, with plumes of smoke still emanating from the wreckage on Friday.

 

'We will not be displaced'

The strike, which the Israeli military has not commented on, comes on the heels of a major Hezbollah attack.

The militants launched barrages of rockets and drones on Wednesday and Thursday targeting Israeli military sites across the border, after an Israeli strike earlier this week killed a senior commander.

The violence since early October has killed at least 470 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also including 91 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

At least 15 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed in Israel's north, authorities say.

The clashes have also pushed tens of thousands of residents on either side of the border to flee their homes for safety.

But Jannata resident Huda Shur said: "We will remain on our land, we will not be displaced."

"We don't care about material losses," added the 55-year-old woman, who also owns a clothing shop, as she was cleaning up glass shards scattered over the floor.

"We are not intimidated by the raids on civilians," she told AFP.

On Wednesday, a top Hezbollah official vowed to "increase the intensity, strength, quantity and quality of our attacks" after the Israeli military confirmed it had "eliminated" Taleb Abdallah, describing him as "one of Hezbollah's most senior commanders in southern Lebanon".

A government spokesman said Israel would respond "with force" to any attacks by Hezbollah, vowing to "restore security on our northern border".

Israel and Hezbollah last fought a major war in 2006, killing nearly 1,400 people including 1,200 on the Lebanese side, most of them civilians, and causing massive destruction.

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