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BEIRUT: The Israeli army responded on Friday to the combined operation carried out by Hezbollah in the occupied Shebaa Farms district — also known as Har Dov — with artillery shelling and airstrikes targeting the Tumat Niha area on the outskirts of Western Bekaa.

An Israeli was killed near the country’s northern border in a Hezbollah attack.

Israeli forces launched an airstrike on the outskirts of Shebaa and fired artillery shells on the outskirts of the town of Kfarchouba at dawn.

The outskirts of Shebaa, Kfarchouba and Helta were targeted with more than 150 Israeli shells.

BACKGROUND

Hezbollah has been trading almost-daily fire with the Israeli army since the day after Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

Hezbollah members set up on Thursday night a “combined ambush of guided missiles, artillery, and rocket weapons targeting an Israeli motorized convoy near the Ruwaizat Al-Alam site, in the occupied Lebanese Kfarchouba hills.”

When the convoy arrived at the ambush point, according to Hezbollah’s statement, “it was targeted with guided weapons, artillery and rockets, destroying two vehicles.”

The party said that the Israeli army created a “smokescreen to retrieve losses.”

Hezbollah announced “targeting an Israeli force as it made it to the entrance of Al-Malikiyah site with artillery fire, and it was directly hit.”

The Israeli army confirmed the killing of a truck driver, Sharif Sawaed — a resident of Wadi Salameh — by an anti-tank shell fired by Hezbollah toward Shebaa Farms.

The Israeli army said that Sawaed was carrying out infrastructure work in the area targeted by the shell, where efforts are underway to set up a barrier on the border.

The Israeli army said that it “succeeded in retrieving the body of the dead soldier after a complex operation that lasted for hours under fire.”

The Israeli army said that warplanes later shelled Hezbollah positions in the villages of Kfarchouba and Ain Al-Tineh, a weapons depot, and a Hezbollah rocket launch pad in the Markaba area in southern Lebanon, and that two anti-tank shells were observed from Lebanese territory toward Shebaa Farms.

Israeli airstrikes led to the destruction of a house in Shebaa, two houses in Kfarchouba, and damage to more than 35 houses. One house was destroyed in Yarine, and another was destroyed in Dhayra.

Israeli artillery shelling targeted the area between the border towns of Yarine and Jebbayn.

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Israeli army launched an investigation into the Har Dov incident, as the engineering force was supposed to operate in the dark to avoid being targeted by Hezbollah’s missiles.

Israeli army spokesperson described what happened in the Shebaa Farms as “a difficult security incident on the Lebanese border.”

This was the first confrontation during which the Israeli army revealed details of casualties and the developments taking place at the target site.

The head of the Israeli Metula settlement council said: “It is insane how we lose houses and infrastructure every day,” adding that “Hezbollah is systematically and deliberately hurting the people of the north by doing so.”

He said that Hezbollah had “successfully deepened the security belt here after it made us flee the northern settlements.”

The Israeli army’s radio station has reported the death of 20 settlers on the Lebanese border since the start of the war more than 200 days ago.

An Israeli military drone struck a car on the Dhahira–Zalloutieh road in the border region.

The Israeli attacks against Lebanon, which have continued for 200 days, resulted in “1,359 casualties, including 344 dead people, most of whom are men,” according to a report published by the Lebanese Ministry of Health.

Israeli media outlets stated that “4,000 missiles were launched toward northern Israel from Lebanon since the beginning of the Gaza war, according to the Israeli army’s estimations.”

Hezbollah provided a detailed overview of the course of the military operations on the Lebanese southern border, stating that “it killed and wounded 2,000 Israeli soldiers, and carried out 1,650 diverse attacks, including downing five drones and targeting 67 command centers and two military factories.”

The group added that it carried out 55 aerial attacks and forced 230,000 settlers to evacuate 43 northern settlements.

 

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