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Hezbollah fires scores of rockets at northern Israel

BEIRUT (AP) – Lebanon’s Hezbollah fired a massive barrage of rockets into northern Israel yesterday to avenge the killing of a top commander, further escalating regional tensions as the fate of an internationally-backed plan for a cease-fire in Gaza hung in the balance.

The retaliatory attack came as United States (US) Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in the region to push a cease-fire proposal.Hezbollah has traded fire with Israel nearly every day since the eight-month-long Israel-Hamas war began and said it will only stop if there is a truce in Gaza. That has raised fears of an even more devastating regional conflagration.

Air raid sirens sounded across northern Israel, and the military said that about 160 projectiles were fired from southern Lebanon, making it one of the largest attacks since the fighting began. There were no immediate reports of casualties as some were intercepted while others ignited brush fires.

Hezbollah said it fired missiles and rockets at two military bases in retaliation for the killing of Taleb Sami Abdullah, the most senior commander killed since the fighting began eight months ago. The Israeli strike destroyed a house where Abdullah and three other officials were meeting, about 10 kilometres from the border, late on Tuesday.

Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon have killed over 400 people, include more than 70 civilians.

A man searches through a rubble after an Israeli strike. PHOTO: AP