One civilian and two Hezbollah fighters killed in intense overnight Israeli fire

Violence between the Lebanese group and Israel has escalated in recent days

A Lebanese man collects books from a house that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, in Mansouri village, south Lebanon, on Wednesday. AP
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One civilian and two Hezbollah fighters were killed by Israeli fire during intense bombardment of the southern Lebanese towns of Khiam and Kafrkala overnight into Thursday, following a Hezbollah attack that injured 14 Israeli soldiers.

Khiam residents identified the dead civilian as Ahmed Hassan Al Ahmad, a Bedouin shepherd who had been visiting the town. An official for local civil defence association the Risala Scouts said paramedics found him dead at the scene.

Hezbollah said two of its fighters were killed in the strikes on Kafrkala, naming them as Ali Ahmad Hamadeh and Mohammed Jamil Shami. Lebanon’s state news agency said they were killed by drone strikes at dawn.

Khiam was targeted in a series of Israeli air raids followed by a barrage of more than 100 artillery and phosphorous shells overnight in a significant escalation, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.

Photos circulating on social media showed the extent of the bombardment, with the town – which is usually on the outskirts of direct fire – lighting up from the falling phosphorus shells.

Israel’s bombardment came after 14 of its soldiers were injured, six of them severely, in an attack claimed by Hezbollah on Wednesday. The group said it attacked a military reconnaissance headquarters in the village of Arab Al Aramshe.

The Iran-allied party said the attack, using guided missiles and drones, was in retaliation for Israel’s “assassination of a number of resistance fighters” the day before, when a senior field commander and two fighters were killed in strikes on the Lebanese towns of Ain Baal and Shehabieh.

Israel and Hezbollah, along with allied armed groups, have been engaged in a violent conflict since October 8, a day after Israel launched its military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah says it is carrying out the attacks in support of its Palestinian ally Hamas in Gaza.

Border towns on both sides of the Lebanon-Israel frontier, on the front line of the conflict, have largely been vacated. Tens of thousands of people remain displaced in both countries.

Updated: April 18, 2024, 11:03 AM