Israel strikes south Lebanon after Hezbollah launches dozens of rockets

There were no immediate reports of casualties on either side

Smoke billows after an Israeli strike on the Lebanese border village of Tayr Harfa, amid cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza.  AFP
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Israel said on Saturday its fighter jets had bombed an “extensive” Hezbollah military compound in south Lebanon after the Lebanese armed group launched dozens of Katyusha rockets at northern Israel on Friday.

Iran-backed Hezbollah said it was attacking Israeli artillery positions and that its attacks came in response to Israel bombing civilian areas of south Lebanon earlier on Friday. Israel said most of the rockets were intercepted with the remainder falling on open ground.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on either side.

Israel and Hezbollah have been engaged in near daily cross border attacks since October 8, a day after Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza. The attacks have gradually increased in scope and intensity, leading to fears of an all-out war.

Iran-backed Hezbollah says it is carrying out the attacks in support of its embattled Palestinian ally Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military has called back reservists in preparation for any escalation along its northern border.

Tensions in the region are particularly high after a strike on Iran's embassy compound in Damascus killed a general and several other Iranian officers on April 1.

Tehran blamed Israel for the attack and has vowed to retaliate, but it is unclear how it plans to do so. However, its response could include attacks by regional allies such as Hezbollah.

Countries including India, France, Poland and Russia have warned their citizens against travel to the region, already on edge over the war in Gaza, now in its seventh month. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the threat from Iran was real and viable.

The Israeli military said it had not issued fresh instructions to civilians, but asked people to remain vigilant.

“Over the past day, the military has conducted a situational assessment and approved plans for a range of scenarios following reports and statements on an Iranian attack,” chief military spokesman Daniel Hagari said on Friday.

Updated: April 14, 2024, 4:39 AM