In first, Hezbollah tries to down fighter jets as border fighting further ratchets up

In first, Hezbollah tries to down fighter jets as border fighting further ratchets up

A cell of Hezbollah operatives launched anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli fighter jets over southern Lebanon on Sunday, the military said, amid intensifying cross-border skirmishes between Israel and the Iran-backed terror organization.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the aircraft were never under any serious threat from the attack. However, it appeared to be the first use of anti-aircraft missiles in Lebanon against Israeli jets since war broke out eight months ago, and came after several weeks that have seen Hezbollah slowly ratchet up the scale, intensity and reach of hostilities.

The IDF said a short while after the missiles were launched, a drone struck and killed the cell, near the coastal city of Tyre.

Elsewhere, the IDF said it struck buildings used by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon’s Chebaa, Aitaroun, and Markaba, alongside additional infrastructure in Aitaroun and a rocket launcher in at-Tiri, used in a recent attack on northern Israel.

Another building in southern Lebanon’s Houla, where the IDF said it identified Hezbollah operatives, was also hit by fighter jets.

Hours later, incoming rocket alerts were activated in the northern coastal city of Acre and the surrounding area, around 17 kilometers (10 miles) from the Lebanon border, shortly before 1 a.m. on Monday.

A minute later, sirens sounded in Kiryat Bialik, one of the so-called Krayot suburbs of Haifa.

There were no reports of damage. The Magen David Adom ambulance service said a woman was lightly hurt while rushing to a bomb shelter but otherwise no one was wounded.

According to an IDF statement, the alerts were activated due to concerns about falling shrapnel from interceptor missiles, which were launched at a “suspicious aerial target” that entered Israeli airspace from Lebanon.

“The incident is over,” the military said in a statement, without elaborating.

The nighttime attack came after repeated rocket and drone attacks on northern Israel throughout Sunday set off sirens and sparked fires in the Golan Heights, amid fresh international calls for a de-escalation between Israeli forces and Hezbollah.

A day earlier, Hezbollah boasted of using the heavy Falaq-2 rocket, which holds a 60-kilogram (132-pound) warhead, against Israel for the first time and on Friday launched a drone that struck an area some 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the border, in what potentially marked its deepest attack amid the war.

Since the day after Hamas’s October 7 attack, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in 10 civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 15 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 334 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 62 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and dozens of civilians have been killed.

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