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Hezbollah launches 30-rocket barrage after Israel targets senior terrorists deep inside Lebanon

Death of senior Radwan Force commander not confirmed yet

Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, Feb. 8, 2024. (Photo: Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Hezbollah and Israel engaged in a cycle of retaliations and counter-responses on Thursday and Friday, as the terror group launched 30 rockets into Israel in retaliation for an alleged Israeli strike targeting a senior commander of Hezbollah's elite Radwan Force.

The latest escalation cycle began on Thursday with Hezbollah attacks resulting in injuries to three Israeli soldiers near Kiryat Shmona.

Later on Thursday, Lebanese media reported that an Israeli drone strike destroyed a vehicle in the town of Nabatiyeh, some 8 kilometers (5 miles) north of the Litani River, deep inside Lebanese territory.

Conflicting media reports stated that of the three passengers in the vehicle that was struck, one had died while two suffered serious injuries. One of the passengers was reported to be the regional commander of the al-Khiam area in Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Force, from where the earlier attacks on Kiryat Shmona had been launched. The commander was later identified as Abbas al-Debes, also known as “Hajj Abdullah.”

Other Arabic-language media outlets later reported that the general military commander of Hezbollah, Ali Karaki, was also wounded in the strike and that he might have been its primary target.

On Friday morning, no confirmation regarding the fate of the two senior terrorists had been announced either by Israel or the Hezbollah terror organization.

The IDF also attacked military buildings used by Hezbollah in the areas of Kafr Kila and Tir Harfa in southern Lebanon on Thursday.

In response to the Israeli strike, Hezbollah launched a barrage of some 30 rockets at the area of Mount Meron on Thursday evening, claiming to have fired Iranian-produced Falaq-1 rockets at the aerial control base it had already targeted twice before.

Hezbollah forces also fired several rockets at another IDF base on Israel's northern border near Metula.

On Friday morning, the IDF stated that a suspicious aerial target was intercepted over the sea in the Haifa area, most probably a drone launched by Hezbollah.

According to standing policy, no sirens were activated as no immediate danger was posed to the residents.

Israel’s alleged strike in Nabatiyeh and Hezbollah’s attacks against Meron both targeted areas relatively far from the border, reflecting the heightening tensions between the parties amid intensive international efforts to reach an agreement leading to de-escalation.

In preparation for possible further escalation, the IDF stated on Thursday that after a few weeks of recovery after intensive fighting in the Gaza Strip, the 36th Division would be redeployed to the Northern Command, where it is usually based in peacetime.

After ending its operations in the south, “the division is deepening its readiness for the operational plans against the northern enemy,” the IDF stated.

In addition, the Israeli military stated that the Division’s 188th Armored Brigade began an intensive training period to “strengthen the competence and readiness” as part of “the process of increasing readiness on the northern border.”

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

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