Israel attacks Baalbek as Hezbollah fires 60 rockets at army barracks

The Israeli strike on Sunday wounded three people in the Lebanese city

Israeli warplanes attacked the Lebanese city of Baalbek on Sunday wounding three people. AFP
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Israeli warplanes conducted air strikes on the Lebanese city of Baalbek on Sunday, another escalation deep within the country amid continuing clashes between Israeli forces and Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

In response to the attack, the group said it fired 60 rockets towards Israeli military bases over the border, including the Yoav and Kaila barracks.

In Baalbek, the Israeli strike wounded three people according to the town's mayor, Bachir Khodr, who posted the news on X. It was not immediately clear what was struck, but Israel claimed to have hit a Hezbollah-operated manufacturing site.

Hours before the bombing, Hezbollah said it had launched two drones into Kfar Blum, northern Israel. The group said the unmanned aircraft were targeting one of Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defence systems, which have been used extensively to counter Hezbollah rockets in recent weeks.

Israel said that Hezbollah launched 50 rockets in response to the air strike, and that most had fallen in open areas. The Iron Dome system often calculates where rockets will fall, to save firing expensive interceptor missiles.

Hours later, Lebanese media said a blast had destroyed a vehicle in Souairi, in the Bekaa Governorate in the country's east, with images on social media showing the burning remains of a vehicle after the suspected air strike.

The strike on Baalbek, 100km from the border, shows the growing spread of the conflict amid concerns that it could turn into full-scale war.

A pair of Israeli air strikes March 12 near the city killed at least two people and wounded 20. Hezbollah says it launched operations against Israel on October 8 over Israel’s war with Hamas militants in Gaza. The two groups have long been supported by Iran.

Since the Gaza war began on October 7, Hezbollah has been carrying out attacks on Israel’s military posts along the border, sometimes firing rockets and at other times, using anti-tank guided missiles.

Israel has staged hundreds of air strikes, mostly along the border, as well as firing artillery and toxic White Phosphorus, which burns at extremely high temperatures and can contaminate land. Since late February the Baalbek area has been attacked at least three times.

A full-scale war between the two – something Western diplomats have been trying to avoid with visits to the region – could see thousands of Hezbollah rocket attacks and Israeli air strikes occurring within days.

The group is thought to have an arsenal of rockets and missiles consisting of more than 100,000 weapons.

Updated: March 24, 2024, 12:08 PM