Hezbollah drones hit Israeli army base in response to assassination

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Smoke rises from the Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp as the Israeli attacks continue in Gaza City, Gaza, January 9, 2024. /CFP

Smoke rises from the Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp as the Israeli attacks continue in Gaza City, Gaza, January 9, 2024. /CFP

Hezbollah launched combat drones toward a military base in northern Israel on Tuesday, saying the attack was in response to earlier Israeli assassinations in Lebanon, according to Israeli and Lebanese sources.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported in a statement that interceptor missiles were launched toward several “hostile aerial targets” that crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory and confirmed that an explosive drone fell at the Northern Command military base in Safed.

The army initially stated that there were no injuries or damage, but Israel’s state-owned Kan TV news later reported that light damage occurred at the base.

The army said that Hezbollah militants also fired rockets toward the areas of Malkia and Yiftach in northern Israel.

Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Lebanese armed group and party, said in a statement that the drones fired at Safed were part of the retaliation for the killing of Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut on January 2 and Hezbollah commander Wissam Hassan Tawil in Lebanon on Monday.

The Israeli army confirmed that it carried out several airstrikes in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, targeting the squad that launched the drones. According to Kan, at least three Hezbollah fighters were killed in the strikes.

In Gaza, IDF confirmed that at least nine Israeli soldiers were killed on Monday, including six who were killed as an IDF ammunition truck, tasked with exploding a tunnel in Khan Yunis, hit a roadside bomb.

The Lebanon-Israel border has been witnessing increased tension since October 8, 2023, after Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets toward Israel in support of a Hamas attack on Israel the previous day, prompting Israel to respond by firing heavy artillery toward southeastern Lebanon.

(With input from agencies)

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