Israeli military says it hit Hezbollah site in central Lebanon

The Israeli military has said it hit a Hezbollah site deep inside Lebanese territory, the latest in a volley of strikes between the two sides amid Israel’s war on Gaza.

In a post on Telegram on Wednesday, Israel’s military said the attack on Tuesday night targeted one of the Lebanese group’s air defence systems near the central village of Janta, which is located about 79km (49 miles) from the capital, Beirut.

This marked a deeper-than-usual incursion into Lebanese territory, where most of the attacks have so far been confined to the south.

In parallel overnight strikes, Israel’s air force attacked a Hezbollah air defence site in the southern town of Baraachit and a weapons depot in the Kfar Kila area, it said.

Reporting from the southern Lebanese town of Marjayoun, Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig said Israeli artillery, drone and missile attacks also hit the areas of Yaroun, Haddatha, Hula, Toulin and al-Nabi Shayth in the Bekaa Valley.

A Hezbollah official, speaking to The Associated Press news agency on condition of anonymity, said one of the victims was a former bodyguard of the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

Hezbollah later named him as Yasser Nimr Qarnabsh.

In retaliation, Hezbollah fired rockets at an Israeli military base in the Golan Heights, killing two people, according to Israeli police. Israel’s rescue service said the victims were civilians.

“The fear is there could really be an escalation,” said Baig. “Hezbollah has been very clear that this front is in support of the Palestinians in Gaza” and that it will not stop “targeting the Israeli military as long as there isn’t a ceasefire”.

While there have been nearly daily attacks between Hezbollah and Israel since the start of the Gaza war, they are still part of a policy of deterrence towards each other, said Sultan Barakat, a professor in conflict and humanitarian studies at Qatar Foundation’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University.

“At the same time, Hezbollah needs to deter Israel from taking it any further by demonstrating its ability to gather intelligence deep into Israel, to identify targets and to reach those targets,” he added.

At least 543 people have been killed in Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon since October, while attacks from Hezbollah and other armed groups in Lebanon have killed at least 21 people in Israel.

Tens of thousands of Israeli and Lebanese civilians have been evacuated from border towns on both sides due to the hostilities.

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