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Israel to continue hitting Hezbollah even during Gaza truce, Defense Minister Gallant says

Hezbollah downs Israeli drone, Israel retaliates deep inside Lebanese territory

Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant at the IDF’s Northern Command (Photo: Ariel Hermoni (IMoD))

Israel will increase its firepower against Hezbollah forces and won’t stop hitting the terror group even in the event of a truce with Hamas in Gaza, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed on Sunday.

“If anyone here thinks that when we reach an agreement to release hostages in the south and the fire stops [in Gaza] temporarily, this will make things easier here – they are mistaken,” Gallant said during an operational assessment at the IDF’s Northern Command.

“We will continue the fire and we will do so independently from the south until we achieve our goals. The goal is simple – to withdraw Hezbollah to where it should be – either via a [diplomatic] agreement, or we will do it by force.”

“We are striking their [Hezbollah] operatives and commanders. They are looking for replacements [for their operatives], and I can tell you that I don’t see any volunteers – everyone is afraid. We will continue to strike them down,” Gallant added.

The defense minister's comments followed an intense fire exchange over the weekend, including an airstrike allegedly carried out by Israel in Syria, near the Lebanese border, that killed two Hezbollah terrorists.

Footage on social media showed a burning truck near Qusayr, south of the city of Homs near Lebanon’s northern border. Shortly afterward, Hezbollah announced the deaths of two of its operatives “on the road to Jerusalem,” meaning they died in Israeli strikes. Their deaths raise the Hezbollah forces death toll since last October to 214.

The airstrike was the 16th Israeli attack on Syrian territory this year, according to data compiled by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In addition, 35 operatives belonging to the so-called “Axis of Resistance,” made up of various Iranian-led and sponsored terror groups, were killed in Syria this year, including eight members of Hezbollah and seven operatives linked to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

In an unusual incident on Monday, the IDF confirmed that Hezbollah shot down an Israeli drone, type Hermes 450, also called 'zik' in Hebrew, over Lebanese territory.

In response, the IDF stated it struck targets "deep inside Lebanon," with Lebanese reports confirming strikes in the Beka'a Valley, which is north of Beirut, around 100 km from the border.

It is the deepest Israeli attack in Lebanon since the start of the war. Army Radio reported that Israel hasn't attacked targets this far north into Lebanon since the last Lebanon War in 2006.

Earlier in the day, Hezbollah at first shot an air-to-surface missile at the drone deep inside Israeli territory, triggering an alarm siren near the town of Afula, some 50 km (30 miles) from the border. The missile was intercepted by the IDF’s David’s Sling aerial defense system.

In a second attempt, Hezbollah launched another missile at the drone, this time hitting it over the a-Tuffah area in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah stated that its operatives would “continue to stand guard and stop the Israeli aircraft and prevent them from achieving their aggressive goals.”

The IDF, for its part, stated that it “will continue to defend the State of Israel and operate in Lebanese skies against the terrorist organization Hezbollah.”

Hezbollah continued firing multiple rocket barrages and launching attack drones against Israeli targets over the weekend, with most falling into open fields and not causing injuries or damage. The rest were intercepted by the IDF’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

Hezbollah claimed to have targeted IDF bases near Margaliot, Kiryat Shmona and the area of Mount Dov.

After several large barrages targeted Kiryat Shmona in recent days, the city’s mayor, Avichai Stern, renewed his warning to its residents to leave the area immediately.

Stern warned residents to “not take any excessive risk. For anyone still in the city, this is the time to make a phone call and leave.”

Most of the city’s residents evacuated months ago and are currently living in hotels and alternate accommodations throughout the State of Israel.

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

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