Israeli soldier killed in rocket attack from Lebanon

Two Hezbollah fighters were also killed

Smoke rises after an Israeli strike near the southern Lebanese village of Ayta Al Shaab. AFP
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An Israeli soldier was killed and another seriously wounded on Friday morning, the military confirmed, as daily battles between Israel and Hezbollah along the Lebanese border continue to escalate.

Two Hezbollah fighters were also killed, Hezbollah announced.

The Israeli soldier, identified as 19-year-old Amit Hod Ziv, was killed by one of several rocket attacks launched from Lebanon into the northern Israeli border towns of Shomera and Shtula.

Hezbollah “targeted gatherings of enemy soldiers in the vicinity of the Shomera Barracks (the occupied Lebanese village of Tarbikha) with rockets and artillery, causing direct hits”, the Iran-backed group said in a statement.

Since October 8, Hezbollah and allied armed groups have sought to distract Israel from its assault on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The group routinely announces attacks “in support of our steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, and in support of their brave and honourable resistance”.

The Hezbollah fighters killed in Israeli strikes were identified as Hussein Ali Ezzedine and Abdul Aziz Ali Maslamani.

Deaths of Hezbollah fighters are fairly common – about 122 since October 8 – and the group routinely celebrates members killed in combat as “martyrs”.

In Israel, the army is less open about military casualties, and deaths caused by fighting along the Lebanese border are not typically admitted to unless the army clears it for publication.

At least two civilians were killed by Israeli bombardment in Lebanon this week, causing Hezbollah – which has attempted to contain the conflict – to intensify its attacks in retaliation.

Leader of the Iran-backed party Hassan Nasrallah has previously stated that while Hezbollah does not seek an all-out war with Israel, it would meet “every Israeli escalation … with a similar action”.

Updated: December 22, 2023, 7:01 PM