Israel strikes Lebanon after Hezbollah hits Shebaa Farms

Smoke rises from Halta village as seen from Ibl al-Saqi village in southern Lebanon, near the border with Israel, southern Lebanon,October 8, 2023. (Reuters/Aziz Taher)

Israel fired barrages of artillery into southern Lebanon on Sunday after Hezbollah targeted three Israeli military positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms.

There were no immediate reports of casualties. The cross-border fire comes a day after a surprise attack by Palestinian gunmen on Israeli towns left at least 250 Israelis dead, with another 230 Gazans killed in Israel’s retaliatory bombardment.

Hezbollah, a powerful armed party backed by Iran, said it had launched guided rockets and artillery onto three posts in the Shebaa Farms “in solidarity” with the Palestinian people.

The Israeli military said Sunday it fired artillery into an area of Lebanon where cross-border mortar fire was launched. “IDF (Israel Defense Forces) artillery is currently striking the area in Lebanon from where a shooting was carried out,” it said.

Israel’s military said one its drones struck a Hezbollah post in the area of Har Dov, an area in Shebaa.

Israel has held the Shebaa Farms, a 15-square-mile (39-square-km) patch of land, since 1967. Both Syria and Lebanon claim the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Saturday, it said it had enhanced its presence in southern Lebanon following developments in Israel and Gaza, including its operations to counter rocket launches.

Hezbollah, which effectively controls southern Lebanon, said Saturday it was in “direct contact” with leaders of Palestinian “resistance” groups and that it saw Palestinian attacks on Israel as a “decisive response to Israel’s continued occupation and a message to those seeking normalisation with Israel”.

— Reporting By Beirut newsroom and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Editing by William Mallard

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