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Hezbollah claims launching rockets at northern Israel

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BEIRUT – Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group has said it launched dozens of rockets at northern Israel in response to the killing of two civilians in a strike blamed on Israel in Lebanon’s south.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah group and Israel have exchanged regular fire in the south of Lebanon since October.

Hezbollah fighters fired “dozens of Katyusha rockets” at northern Israel “as part of the response to the Israeli enemy’s attacks on… civilian homes, specifically the horrific massacre in Hanin and the killing and injuring of civilians,” the group said in a statement.

Local rescuers and official media said an Israeli strike on a house in Hanin, near the Israeli border, killed two members of the same family.

A civil defense source told AFP that “a woman in her 50s and a 12-year-old girl have been killed” in the strike, while several injured people from the same family were taken to hospital.

Lebanon’s National News Agency confirmed the deaths and said that six others were wounded in the strike.

“Enemy warplanes carried out a raid on a two-storey house, firing two air-to-surface missiles and completely destroying it,” the NNA said, adding that the building housed “a family that had not left… since Israeli attacks started”.

Tens of thousands have been displaced on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border since near-daily skirmishes began following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that triggered war in Gaza.

But Hezbollah has stepped up its rocket attacks on Israeli positions in recent days.

Earlier in the day, Hezbollah said it had launched drone attacks on northern Israeli bases in retaliation for the killing of a fighter Israel described as “significant.”

The assault targeted deeper into Israel than the border area the group usually strikes.

Hezbollah said it launched “a combined air attack using decoy and explosive drones that targeted” two Israeli bases north of Acre, while Israel said they did not hit their targets.

On Tuesday morning, the Lebanese group said one of its fighters had been killed by Israeli fire, adding he was a resident of the area where his vehicle was struck.

A source close to the Iran-backed group told AFP that an engineer working for the group’s air defence forces was killed by an Israeli drone strike as he was travelling in a vehicle.

The strike hit the Abu al-Aswad area near the coastal city of Tyre, some 35 kilometers from the border, an AFP journalist reported.

The fighter’s vehicle was completely burnt out.

Hezbollah also said in an overnight statement that another fighter had been killed by Israel.

The Israeli army had said it killed “two significant terrorists in Hezbollah’s aerial unit” in overnight and morning strikes.

The fighter killed on Tuesday was “heavily involved in the planning and execution of terrorist attacks against Israel,” it added.

Since Oct. 7, at least 380 people have been killed in Lebanon, mostly Hezbollah fighters but also 72 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Israel says 11 soldiers and eight civilians have been killed on its side of the border.

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