Israel says it attacked weapons depots near Saida in Lebanon

Targets reportedly hit are deep inside Lebanon, continuing Israel's move to strike deeper into the country

Two Israeli strikes near Lebanese city of Saida

Two Israeli strikes near Lebanese city of Saida
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Israel said it struck weapons depots on Monday afternoon on the outskirts of the Lebanese city of Saida, marking one of the furthest targets from the border since cross-border fighting broke out after October 8.

The spokesman for the Israeli military, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said it had attacked weapons depots near Saida, which is also known as Sidon, in retaliation for a drone attack by Hezbollah.

“We located an unmanned aerial vehicle from Hezbollah near Tiberias, which apparently crossed today and crashed near Tiberias," Admiral Hagari said.

"In response to this activity, we attacked weapons depots near Sidon."

Lebanon's official National News Agency reported that the strikes hit the town of Ghazieh, on the outskirts of Saida, and that a car on the coastal road in the area was among the targets hit.

It later reported that 14 people, mainly Palestinians and Syrians, were injured. Some schools in the area announced that classes would be suspended on Tuesday.

In video shared on social media, a driver films as debris fell on to his moving vehicle while he sped past fire and smoke.

A few seconds later, another strike hit the area, sending more debris flying as the passengers of the car screamed.

Local media had reported that the first attack was aimed at a tyre factory, while the second struck the main coastal road.

The incident marks the second time this month that Israel has attacked near the city of Saida, which is about 50km north of the border and 43km south of Lebanon’s capital, Beirut.

The NNA had earlier in the afternoon reported an “enemy drone” at low altitude over the Saida area.

Last week, Israel said it killed a Hezbollah commander, his deputy and another fighter in a strike in the city of Nabatieh in south Lebanon.

The attack, on a residential building, also killed seven members of the same family, while another killed a woman and two children.

Cross-border fighting between Israeli forces and Iran-backed Hezbollah broke out on October 8, the day after an attack by Hamas on Israel sparked the continuing Israel-Gaza war.

Until February, Israel had limited its attacks to targets no more than 12km from the border, with the exception of the assassination of Hamas deputy Saleh Al Arouri in a Beirut suburb in January.

This month has seen an escalation in the conflict, with Israel hitting targets further into Lebanon, as Hezbollah continues to pressure Israeli forces from the north in support of its ally Hamas.

Updated: February 20, 2024, 4:02 AM