Israel strikes the outskirts of Baalbek in Lebanon


Hezbollah announced, on Monday, that 3 members were killed in Israeli raids, two of them on the outskirts of the city of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon, and another in the town of Majadil on the southern border.

Hezbollah mourned in separate statements “Hassan Ali Younis, born in 1969 from the town of Brital in the Beka’a, and Ahmed Muhammad Sindian, born in 1966 from the town of Ali al Nahri in the Beka’a”.

In another statement, Hezbollah also mourned Hassan Hussein Salami, born in 1974 from the town of Khirbet Selm in southern Lebanon.

Earlier Monday, the Israeli army announced the implementation of raids on sites it said were belonging to Hezbollah in the Beka’a Governorate in response to the firing of surface-to-air missiles at a drone, in a dangerous development of attacks deep inside Lebanon, far from the border confrontations that have been ongoing between Hezbollah and Israeli since the 8th of October 2023.

Baalbek is about 100 km from Lebanon’s southern border, and is considered a Hezbollah stronghold in eastern Lebanon on the border with Syria.

The Israeli army said that its fighter jets bombed air defenses belonging to the Hezbollah group in the Beka’a Valley in Lebanon on Monday in response to the downing of one of its drones.

The Israeli army added that it would continue its operations to defend Israel from the Iran-aligned Hezbollah group, including within Lebanese airspace.

The strikes are the first Israeli targeting of Hezbollah outside the south since the start of the exchange of fire between the two sides in the wake of the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

On January 2, Israel targeted an apartment in the southern suburb of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, resulting in the martyrdom of the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, Saleh al Arouri, along with six of his companions.

The strikes on Baalbek on Monday came shortly after Hezbollah announced that it shot down a large Israeli Hermes 450 drone with a surface-to-air missile over the Iqlim al Tuffah area, located approximately 20 kilometers from the border.

Since the day following the unprecedented attack launched by Hamas on Israel on October 7, the Lebanese border has witnessed an escalation between Hezbollah and Israel.

Hezbollah announces the targeting of Israeli sites, and Israeli military assembly point in support of Gaza.

The Israeli army responds with air and artillery bombardment, which it says targets the party’s infrastructure and the movements of fighters near the border.

Southern Lebanon and northern Israel witnessed a major escalation on February 14, with Israel launching a series of air strikes on several towns, resulting in the death of at least ten civilians, in addition to the wounding of five Hezbollah members, including a military official.

This came shortly after the killing of an Israeli soldier by a missile fired from southern Lebanon, for which no side claimed responsibility.

The escalation over more than four months prompted tens of thousands of residents on both sides of the border to evacuate their homes.

In Lebanon, more than 89,000 people were displaced from their towns, especially the border ones, while the escalation resulted in the martyrdom of at least 280 people, including 193 Hezbollah fighters and 44 civilians.

In Israel, the army counted the deaths of ten soldiers and nine civilians.

The escalation raised local and international fears that the exchange of bombing across the border would expand into a wide confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel, which fought a devastating war in the summer of 2006.

Hezbollah reiterates that only Israel stopping its war in the Gaza Strip will stop the shooting from southern Lebanon.

However, Israel said on Sunday, through Defense Minister Yoav Galant, that Israeli operations against Hezbollah would not stop, even if an agreement was reached on a ceasefire and the release of the hostages in Gaza.

The Israeli army announced, on Monday, the interception of a surface-to-air missile launched from Lebanon using the David’s Sling system.

Israeli Army Radio said that prior to its interception by the David’s Sling system, “A surface-to-air missile launched from Lebanon attempted to intercept a ‘Zik’ drone, and the drone wasn’t damaged and continued its mission”.

Israeli Army Radio didn’t specify the location of the missile interception, while sirens sounded in northern Israel on Monday morning.

As of 9:00 (UTG), Hezbollah hadn’t issued a statement claiming responsibility for the missile launch.

It’s noteworthy that Israel has several systems to intercept missiles, including David’s Sling, Arrow, and Iron Dome.

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