Lebanon’s Hezbollah says fighter killed by Israel fire

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group said one of its fighters in south Lebanon was killed on Saturday by Israeli fire, as cross-border tensions rise over Israel’s war with Hezbollah’s Palestinian ally Hamas.

Hezbollah and other Palestinian factions in Lebanon have exchanged cross-border fire with Israel since Hamas’s surprise October 7 attack from Gaza ignited a war that has killed more than 1,300 people in Israel.

Palestinian gunmen also seized an estimated 150 hostages while Israel’s retaliatory air and artillery bombardment has killed more than 2,200 people in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

A Hezbollah statement said the fighter was martyred. A spokesperson said that he was killed in south Lebanon “either in Israeli strikes or in clashes.”

Two Lebanese civilians were also killed in Israeli shelling of the southern village of Shebaa, its mayor Mohammad Saab told AFP.

Earlier Saturday Hezbollah and Israel said they had exchanged cross-border fire, with the Israeli army saying they had killed several “terrorists” trying to slip across.

Hezbollah said it had fired guided missiles and mortar rounds at Israeli positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms section of the border with Israel and the annexed Golan Heights.

The Israeli military said it retaliated by “striking the origin of the launches.”

An AFP correspondent near the Shebaa Farms reported shelling and saw clouds of smoke rising in the area.

Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions in Lebanon on a near-daily basis since Sunday, although the tit-for-tat attacks have remained limited.

Lebanon’s army said Saturday that Israel was behind cross-border fire that killed a Reuters journalist and wounded six others near the border the previous day.

On Monday, Hezbollah said Israeli strikes had killed three of its members, while Palestinian fighters claimed a thwarted infiltration bid.

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