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northern front

Hezbollah escalates rocket fire and drone attacks over Passover holiday

Siren alarms sound on Haifa’s outskirts for first time since December

Heavy missile rockets attack that landed in Kibbutz Hanita, northern Israel, on April 21, 2024 (Photo: Michael Giladi/Flash90)

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis were forced to enter their bunkers over the first two days of Passover, as the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah stepped up its attacks along the country’s northern border.

Over the past two days, about 60 rockets were fired into Israel, along with six drones, some of which infiltrated as far as the outskirts of Haifa before being intercepted over the Meditteranean Sea by the IDF’s air defense systems.

The latest round of intense fire exchanges began on Monday, when Hezbollah shot down an Israeli Hermes 450 drone flying over Lebanese territory. The IDF said fighter jets struck the launch site used in the attack and said it was investigating the incident.

In February, the IDF struck targets in the Baalbek region deep inside Lebanon for the first time in years, following Hezbollah's shoot-down of a Hermes 450 drone. A similar incident took place in April, after Hezbollah downed a larger Hermes 900 drone.

As Israelis sat down for the traditional Passover meal on Monday evening, Hezbollah fired a barrage of around 35 rockets at the area near the city of Safed, without causing casualties or damage.

Israel Defense Forces, in an immediate response, struck several Hezbollah buildings and eliminated an immediate threat in the area near Yaroun, in southern Lebanon, during the night.

Israel’s retaliation to the downing of its drone was announced the next morning, as the army said it had killed two senior Hezbollah operatives involved in its anti-aircraft capabilities.

The first was killed in a drone strike near the city of Tyre. He was identified as Hussein Azqoul, who the IDF called a “central terrorist” in Hezbollah’s air defense unit, adding that he also “took part in the planning and execution of a variety of terror activities.”

His death was a “significant blow” to Hezbollah’s air defense unit, the IDF added.

In another targeted strike, the IDF eliminated Muhammad Attiya, a ”significant member” of the elite Radwan Forces' aerial unit, according to the IDF.

On Tuesday afternoon, sirens were sounded in Nahariya, Acre and other towns in the Krayot area on the northern outskirts of Haifa, after the IDF detected several Hezbollah drones trying to attack the area from the sea.

The Israeli military later stated it had intercepted two drones over the Mediterranean, confirming that the sirens were activated due to fear of falling interceptor fragments.

Hezbollah claimed the attacks came in response to the assassinations of its operatives, stating that they had targeted the Golani Brigade headquarters and another IDF base in the area.

The attacks on the IDF posts just north of Acre are among the deepest strikes inside Israel that Hezbollah has carried out during the war.

Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighter jets retaliated by striking two buildings in southern Lebanon’s Aita al-Sha’ab and Bleida, where Hezbollah operatives had gathered.

Hezbollah’s rocket attacks continued into the night when it fired several rockets that fell in open areas near Shomra.

”An Air Force aircraft attacked and destroyed the launcher from which the rockets were launched in the Tir Harfa area,” the IDF stated shortly after.

The exchange of fire showed no sign of letting up on Wednesday morning, as the Upper Galilee Regional Council announced that anti-tank missiles fired by Hezbollah had struck two homes in Moshav Avivim, causing a small fire but no casualties.

Army Radio reported that following the attack in Avivim, IDF fighter jets carried out a wave of simultaneous attacks against dozens of targets in southern Lebanon.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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