July 13, 2024

Hezbollah launches 200 rockets into Israel after senior commander’s killing


Lebanon’s Hezbollah group claimed responsibility for firing over 200 rockets at multiple Israeli military bases in response to an airstrike that killed a senior commander.

The Israeli military said “numerous projectiles and suspicious aerial targets” had entered its territory from Lebanon, many of which it said were intercepted. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

It acknowledged on Wednesday that it had killed Mohammad Naameh Nasser, who headed one of Hezbollah’s three regional divisions in southern Lebanon, a day earlier.

Hours later, Hezbollah launched scores of Katyusha and Falaq rockets with heavy warheads into northern Israel and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. It launched more rockets on Thursday and said it had also sent exploding drones into several bases.

The attack marks one of the largest escalations in the ongoing conflict along the Lebanon-Israel border amid heightened tensions in recent weeks.

Amid fears of regional escalation, the US and France are actively working to prevent the situation from escalating further into a broader conflict, which they fear could spill over across the region.

Israeli officials, meanwhile, say they could decide to go to war in Lebanon if efforts for a diplomatic solution fail.

Hezbollah’s retaliation comes a day after a senior adviser to US President Joe Biden, Amos Hochstein, met with French President Emmanuel Macron’s Lebanon envoy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Paris.

The fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border. In northern Israel, 16 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed. In Lebanon, more than 450 people — mostly fighters but also dozens of civilians — have been killed.

Israel sees Hezbollah as its most direct threat and estimates that it has an arsenal of 150,000 rockets and missiles, including precision-guided missiles.

In 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought a monthlong war.

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