Israeli military says it hit vehicle carrying Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon

Lebanese militant group says five members were killed in Israeli strikes on Saturday

A UN peacekeeping force vehicle drives past the wreckage of a car that was targeted in Israeli strike early on Saturday near the southern Lebanese town of Naqoura. AFP
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Israel's military said its aircraft struck a vehicle in the south of Lebanon, which was transporting Hezbollah militants who launched rockets into Israeli territory on Saturday.

Earlier on Saturday, Hezbollah had released the names of five members who it said had been “martyred”, but it was not clear if these included the occupants of the car. It identified the men killed as Mohamed Ali Ghebreyes, Mustafa Hussein Salman, Ali Abdul Nabi Qasim, Farouk Mohamed Harb and Abbas Ahmed Khalil.

The Israeli military said the “terrorists operated under the Imam Hossein Division, which is affiliated with Iran and operates for Hezbollah organisation”.

The Lebanese army confirmed the strike, which it said killed three “fighters” near the coastal town of Naqoura, about three kilometres north of the Lebanon-Israel border.

Lebanese security sources said the car was targeted on a coastal road near Naqoura at about 8.30am, and that one of the men killed was a weapons technician.

The Israeli military said fighter jets also struck Hezbollah infrastructure in the area of Labbouneh in southern Lebanon on Saturday.

Two Hezbollah military compounds were struck in the area of Blida overnight, it said.

According to a Hezbollah statement released through Lebanon's National News Agency, the group carried out a drone strike on a new Israeli military command headquarters in Liman, an agricultural settlement on the coast south of the border, at 05.40am on Saturday.

The strikes are the part of a recent escalation in cross-border attacks that began a day after Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza against Hamas, a Hezbollah ally, on October 7.

Hezbollah has indicated that it would suspend its attacks if Israel agreed to halt its offensive in Gaza, which has claimed more than 30,000 lives and devastated the small Palestinian coastal enclave in Israel's south.

However, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said this week that Israel would continue attacks on Hezbollah even if current mediation efforts for a ceasefire in Gaza are successful.

Updated: March 02, 2024, 2:27 PM