Hezbollah-Israel ceasefire violated after less than 24 hours
The de-facto ceasefire established between Hezbollah and Israel on Friday was broken early on Saturday after a surface-to-air missile from Lebanon unsuccessfully targeted an Israeli drone, prompting retaliatory Israeli shelling.
Israeli media reported that its military shot down the missile and that it responded by targeting "Hezbollah infrastructure" by the Lebanese border. Warning sirens were later activated due to suspicions of a drone entering airspace over northern Israel, but the border remained otherwise in the hours after the exchange.
Hezbollah's spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the clash.
Hezbollah and Israel did not officially sign a ceasefire deal, but officials from both parties signalled that they were willing to extend the terms of the four-day Hamas-Israel truce to the Lebanese border.
The Hamas-Israel ceasefire was signed to facilitate the exchange of hostages held by Hamas and Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, as well as to allow some humanitarian aid into the territory.
Friday saw the longest period without fighting along the Lebanese border since daily clashes began on 8 October after Hezbollah launched rockets "in solidarity" with Hamas' surprise operation across the Gaza border.
Residents of border towns took advantage of the brief respite in fighting to return to their homes and check on their belongings, constantly checking the news to see if the ceasefire was broken.
"We have been waiting for a ceasefire to come back. There was a lot of damage in the village from the bombings. I wouldn't have a problem staying personally, but I have children and they are scared," Iman Reda, a 39-year-old mother of three, told The New Arab in the border town of Aita al-Shaab on Friday.
Reda came back to collect her belongings and check on her relatives' home, which had been damaged by a drone strike just a few days earlier. Fearful of overnight fighting, she said her and her children would return to the nearby city of Sour (Tyre) before sunset.
In Dahayrah, a village just 100 metres away from the border, around "80 per cent" of the townfolk had returned by late Friday, Ali, a Dahayrah resident told TNA.
Much of the town had neither running water nor electricity due to the extensive Israeli bombing which had displaced all but 20 of the 2,000 residents last month.
Still, "one cannot be comfortable anywhere but his own home," Ali said. He added that if the bombing resumed, he would run "immediately" to Sour, where he had been previously staying in a displacement centre.
Israeli officials said that its military operations in Gaza would resume after the four-day ceasefire period ended, adding that they expected fighting to last for an additional "two months."
Hezbollah has previously linked its operations on the Lebanese-Israeli border with Israel's war on Gaza, saying that it will continue fighting until a lasting ceasefire is established.