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Hezbollah said two fighters killed in Israel strikes

BEIRUT (AFP) – Lebanon’s Hezbollah yesterday said two of its fighters had been killed as Israel appeared to intensify strikes on south Lebanon following an attack by the Iran-backed group that wounded 14 Israeli soldiers.

Israel and Hezbollah have been exchanging near-daily cross-border fire since Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, triggering war in the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah’s attacks in recent days have included an increased use of explosive drones and have wounded people in Israel, which has struck increasingly deeper into Lebanon in recent weeks.

Hezbollah said yesterday two of its fighters had been “martyred on the road to Jerusalem”, the phrase it uses to refer to members killed by Israeli fire, without specifying where or when they died. The Hezbollah-affiliated Islamic Health Committee, which has emergency responders in south Lebanon, told AFP two people were killed in the border village of Kafr Kila.

The Lebanese Risala Scout association, which also operates rescue teams in the south and is affiliated with the Hezbollah-allied Amal movement, told AFP an “Israeli drone” carried out the strike.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported “the Israeli enemy” attacked south Lebanon’s Marjayoun district “and the villages of Khiam and Kfar Kila in particular” with “strikes and heavy artillery and phosphorus” overnight.

Mourners cry during a funeral of martyred fighters in south Lebanon. PHOTO: AP

It said Israel targeted Khiam alone “with more than 100 strikes including artillery and phosphorus”.

Lebanon has accused Israel of deploying white phosphorus, whose use against civilians and non-military targets as well as against military targets near civilians is banned.

On Wednesday, the Israeli military said 14 soldiers were wounded, six of them seriously, in an attack on northern Israel.

It later said “fighter jets struck significant Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure” in the Baalbek area, a bastion of the powerful Shiite Muslim group in the country’s east.

Wednesday’s exchange came with regional tensions high after Iran launched a direct attack on Israel over the weekend in retaliation for a deadly strike on Tehran’s Damascus consulate that has been widely blamed on Israel.

On Tuesday, Israel said its strikes in south Lebanon killed two local Hezbollah commanders and another operative, with the Iran-backed group saying three of its members were killed as it launched rockets in retaliation.

Hezbollah said it is acting in support of Gazans and ally Hamas with its attacks on Israel, while Israel has been increasingly targeting the group’s commanders.

The violence has killed at least 370 people in Lebanon, mostly Hezbollah fighters but also at least 70 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

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