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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Hezbollah Field Commander Killed in Israeli Strike on Southern Lebanon

Hezbollah Field Commander Killed in Israeli Strike on Southern Lebanon

A field commander from Hezbollah was killed today, Tuesday, in an Israeli strike targeting southern Lebanon, a source close to the group informed Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The source, who chose to remain anonymous, stated that "a field commander responsible for the sector in the Naqoura region was killed due to an Israeli strike." This attack, according to the official National News Agency, targeted a vehicle in the town of Ain Baal, located approximately 15 kilometers from the nearest border point with Israel.

The Israeli military confirmed the killing of a Hezbollah commander in a strike conducted in southern Lebanon. A statement by the military outlined that their aircraft "bombed and neutralized Ismail Youssef Baz, a leader in Hezbollah's coastal sector" in the area of Ain Baal, Lebanon. The statement added that the mentioned leader "was involved in planning the firing of anti-tank missiles and rockets towards Israel from the coastal area of Lebanon."

Earlier reports by the National News Agency mentioned that a "hostile drone" targeted a vehicle in the town of Ain Baal in the Tyre region, causing "the martyrdom of one individual and injuries to two others," without specifying whether the individuals were civilians or fighters. Videos circling among locals and journalists showed the targeted vehicle engulfed in flames on a side road, with a body visible inside. Hezbollah has not yet mourned any of its members following the incident; however, in a statement, it declared its retaliation by targeting the "Beit Hell base with Katyusha rockets," in response to "the Israeli enemy's assaults on peaceful villages, the most recent in Ain Baal."

In a related context, the National News Agency reported casualties and wounded in an Israeli raid targeting two vehicles in the town of Shahabiya in the south of the country. The report added that Israeli aircraft also attacked the town of Yaroun, launching two air-to-ground missiles at the town.

This bombardment came shortly after Hezbollah’s declaration of launching an aerial attack with "suicide drones" targeting "the missile defense system in Beit Hell." The Israeli military, in turn, reported that two armed drones launched from Lebanon exploded near a town in northern Israel, resulting in three injuries according to the local council in the area.

The Lebanon-Israel border has been experiencing heightened tensions. On Monday, the Israeli military announced injuries to four of its soldiers inside Lebanese territory, shortly after Hezbollah declared it had detonated explosive devices against Israeli soldiers crossing the border.

The escalation follows a period of tension in the region, culminating in Iran launching dozens of drones and missiles at Israel, marking Iran's first direct attack against the Jewish state, in retaliation for the bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus at the beginning of April.

An Israeli military spokesperson on Tuesday stated that "Iran will not escape punishment." Since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip on October 7th, Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging fire across the border almost daily. Hezbollah claims its attacks target Israeli military positions and intelligence-gathering equipment in support of Gaza and "in solidarity with its resistance."

In response, the Israeli military carries out airstrikes and artillery shelling, stating it targets Hezbollah's infrastructure and fighter movements near the border. Since the start of the escalation, at least 365 people have been killed in Lebanon, including 241 Hezbollah members and at least 70 civilians, according to a tally prepared by AFP based on data from Hezbollah and official Lebanese sources. On the Israeli side, ten military personnel and eight civilians have been reported killed.
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