Israel, Lebanon's Hezbollah trade fire despite UN appeals for restraint

Smoke billows from the site of an Israeli air strike on the southern Lebanese village of Al-Mansuri on February 27, 2024. (Photo/AFP)

Hezbollah and Israel have exchanged fire following deadly Israeli strikes on east Lebanon the day before, while a UN official called for an end to the "dangerous cycle of violence".

Hezbollah said on Tuesday it targeted the "Meron air control base... with a large salvo of rockets from several launchers", in response to the Baalbek strikes.

One of the strikes targeted Baisariyeh, almost 30 kilometres from the nearest Israeli boundary.

Later on Tuesday, Hezbollah said it had targeted the same base again, as well as several other Israeli positions, one for the first time since hostilities started.

The Israeli army said that "approximately 20 launches were identified crossing from Lebanon... some of which were successfully intercepted".

The Israeli army claimed its warplanes attacked a military compound and infrastructure for Hezbollah in the villages of Jibchit, Mansouri, and others in southern Lebanon.

The statement also said its artillery attacked a target — without specifying it — near the Yaroun town, and claimed removing a threat.

Hezbollah has exchanged near-daily fire with the Israeli military since Israeli assault on Gaza began nearly four months ago.

Israeli raids near east Lebanon's Baalbek on Monday were the first in the area since hostilities started, and hit far beyond the usual border regions.

The Israeli army said the strikes targeted Hezbollah air defences after the group downed an Israeli drone.

Cease hostilities, warring sides told

The UN special coordinator for Lebanon, Joanna Wronecka, in a statement called for "an immediate halt to this dangerous cycle of violence and return to a cessation of hostilities".

The US State Department's spokesman Mathew Miller said his country did "not want to see either side escalate the conflict".

Two Hezbollah fighters were killed in the east Lebanon strikes on Monday. Later that day, the group fired 60 rockets at an Israeli base in the annexed Golan Heights.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, warned of a "concerning shift in the exchanges of fire" in recent days and "an expansion and intensification of strikes".

"Recent events have the potential to put at risk a political solution to this conflict," the force said in a statement, urging "all parties involved to halt hostilities... and leave space to a political and diplomatic solution".

Cross-border exchanges since October have killed at least 284 people on the Lebanese side, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 44 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed, according to the Israeli army.


Source: TRT