Israel rehearses for wider Hezbollah war as military base struck by rockets

Hezbollah shot down one of Israel's most advanced drones on Sunday morning

Smoke billows following an Israeli air strike on the southern Lebanese village of Siddiqin on June 1. AFP
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Two civilians were killed in an Israeli air strike in the village of Houla in south Lebanon on Sunday, amid heavy fighting between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah.

The Israeli military also warned on Sunday that it was preparing for a wider war after completing a week of exercises.

“Two civilians were killed in an Israeli strike that targeted their home in the village of Houla,” near the border, the National News Agency reported.

AFP said that the two victims were “two brothers, shepherds whose house was destroyed”.

Local media identified the brothers as Ali Kassem, 31, and Mohammad Kassem, 43.

Hezbollah said in the morning it launched several drone attacks towards an Israeli military position in the occupied Golan Heights. The Hamas ally has regularly fired on Israel since the Palestinian militant group's October 7 attack on southern Israel.

This comes amid increasing tension at the Israel-Lebanon border after almost eight months of cross-border fire which has sparked fears of a full-scale conflict in Lebanon.

On Sunday, Israel said it had wrapped up military drills including “many scenarios that simulate the expansion of the war in the northern arena, and multi-front war scenarios”. The army stated that the 36th Division participated in the drill by simulating “combat scenarios in the northern arena”.

The announcement followed an attack on an Israeli army base at Kiryat Shmona which was heavily damaged by rockets, but no casualties were reported. Hezbollah said the headquarters of Israel’s 769th Brigade had been struck with Burkan missiles.

Hezbollah said it had “bombarded … the headquarters of the 210th Golan Division in the Nafah barracks with dozens of Katyusha rockets.” The 769th brigade is part of the 210th Golan Division.

The Israeli military said on Sunday that in response to Hezbollah firing a missile at one of its drones “operating in Lebanese airspace” the day before, “fighter jets struck a military compound used by the Hezbollah terrorist organisation in the area of Beqaa in Lebanon”.

On Saturday, Hezbollah shot down an Israeli Hermes 900 drone, a $5 million unmanned aircraft, and the fourth Israeli drone to be brought down since October 8.

The Israeli military said that a barrage of at least 10 rockets was launched from Lebanon at the Katzrin area in the Golan Heights, causing several fires.

After eight months of violence on the Israel-Lebanon border, 451 people have been killed in Lebanon, mostly fighters but including more than 80 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

On the Israeli side, at least 14 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed, according to the army.

Updated: June 03, 2024, 3:12 AM