Seven Lebanese and an Israeli killed as Hezbollah, Israel trade strikes

Seven Lebanese and an Israeli killed as Hezbollah, Israel trade strikes
Hezbollah has taken responsibility for the launches and said they were in response to an Israeli airstrike that killed seven medical workers in south Lebanon
3 min read
Lebanon's Hezbollah group and Israel have been engaged in near-daily fighting since the outbreak of war in Gaza in October [GETTY]

An Israeli airstrike on a paramedics centre in south Lebanon killed seven of its staff early on Wednesday and triggered a rocket attack from Lebanon that killed one person in northern Israel, officials said.

The strike on the village of Hebbariye came after a day of airstrikes and rocket attacks between Israel's military and Lebanon's Hezbollah group along the Lebanon-Israel border, raising concerns of further escalation along the frontier that has been active for the past five months of Israel's war on Gaza.

The airstrike after midnight Tuesday hit an office of the Islamic Emergency and Relief Corps, connected to Lebanon’s Sunni Muslim al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, a political group and Hamas ally. It was one of the deadliest single attacks since violence erupted along the border.

The paramedics association listed the names of seven volunteers who were killed in the strike. It said the strike was "a flagrant violation of humanitarian work."

Hebbariye resident Ali Noureddine told The Associated Press that the seven dead were pulled out from the rubble before sunrise Wednesday.

Hezbollah condemned the attack in a statement early on Wednesday prior to the launch of its retaliatory attack which killed an Israeli man in the occupied Golan Heights.

"Hezbollah strongly condemns the sinful aggression and the heinous crime committed by the Zionist occupation forces," the Shia Muslim political group said in a statement on its Telegram channel.

The Israeli military said it struck a military building in Hebbariye and killed a member of Lebanon's Sunni Muslim al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, or the Islamic Group, and several other militants. It said the man was involved in attacks against Israel.

Hours later, Hezbollah said it retaliated against the airstrike by firing dozens of rockets Wednesday morning on the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona and a military base there.

Rescue services in Israel said that a 25 year-old man was killed when a direct hit sparked a fire in an industrial park in Kiryat Shmona. Footage from the scene showed thick black smoke pouring out of a building.

Another person was lightly injured. Around 30 rockets were launched from Lebanon toward northern Israel, according to the Israeli military.

Nada Khleif was in her small bakery in Hebbariyeh when the strike heavily damaged her business and a nearby apartment, where two of her relatives were unharmed.

"The bakery was my only means of living. It is gone now," she said.

Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group began launching rockets toward Israel one day after Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7. The near-daily violence has mostly been confined to the area along the Lebanon-Israel border, and international mediators are scrambling to prevent an all-out war between Hezbollah and Israel.

In recent weeks, Israel has struck deeper into Lebanese territory and raising concerns that the fighting could spill over into total war. 

Thousands of civilians in south Lebanon have been displaced from villages in the south since October and are reliant on aid handouts.

The fighting has killed nine civilians and 11 soldiers in Israel. Nearly 240 Hezbollah fighters and about 40 civilians have died in Lebanon.