Four relatives of a journalist were killed on Sunday in an Israeli strike in southern Lebanon, the official Lebanese news agency said, adding that the journalist was also wounded.
The border area between the two countries has seen multiple exchanges of fire, in particular between Iran-backed group Hezbollah and Israel, since the start of the Israel-Hamas war triggered by the Palestinian group’s October 7 attacks.
The National News Agency (NNA) said the four victims are the sister of radio correspondent Samir Ayoub and her three grandchildren, aged 10, 12 and 14.
They were following the journalist’s car in another vehicle when they were killed.
Shortly thereafter, the Israeli military’s spokesman said one Israeli had been killed in an attack by Hezbollah on the northern border.
Hezbollah said it fired multiple grad rockets at the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona on Sunday in retaliation for an Israeli strike in southern Lebanon that it said had killed a woman and three children.
In a statement, the Lebanese militant faction said its attack came in response to Israel’s “heinous and brutal crime.”
Asked about earlier reports from security sources in Lebanon that an Israeli strike had killed three people in a car near Aynata, an Israeli army spokesperson said the army would be a releasing a statement later on Sunday about a strike in Lebanon.
Earlier Sunday, four rescue workers were injured in an Israeli bombing in southern Lebanon that hit two ambulances, according to the association that owned the vehicles and state media.
NNA said an Israeli strike targeted two ambulances belonging to the Risala Scout association, which operates rescue teams and is affiliated with the Shia Amal movement, a Hezbollah ally.
The association said “a drone from the Israeli occupation forces deliberately targeted … the two vehicles, causing moderate injuries to four paramedics.”
It said the attack took place at dawn when the two ambulances were called to evacuate wounded in the village of Tayr Harfa, some three kilometers (two miles) from the border with Israel.
The Israeli army said it had used a drone to target a “terrorist cell that attempted to fire from Lebanon toward the area of Rosh Hanikra in northern Israel.”
It said troops had observed “two suspicious vehicles” in the area, but said “the strike was directed at the terrorist cell and not at the vehicles.”
Lebanon’s health ministry condemned “a cowardly and barbaric attack.”
Since October 7, at least 81 people have been killed on the Lebanese side in cross-border skirmishes, according to an AFP tally, including 59 Hezbollah fighters.
Six soldiers and one civilian have been killed on the Israeli side.
On October 13, Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah was killed and six other journalists, including two from AFP, were wounded while covering the cross-border fighting in southern Lebanon.
Lebanese authorities have accused Israel of being behind the strikes.
Hezbollah said two more of its fighters were killed on Sunday morning.
Rising tensions on the border have raised concerns that the Israel’s war to destroy Hamas in Gaza could become a wider conflagration.
In his first speech since the fighting erupted between Israel and Hamas, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Friday accused the United States of being “entirely responsible” for the war.
He also warned Israel against the “folly” of an attack on Lebanon, adding that halting its “aggression against Gaza” would prevent a regional conflict.