Israel evacuates communities along Lebanon border amid Gaza assault

Israel evacuates communities along Lebanon border amid Gaza assault
With Israel waging war on the Gaza strip, it fears that Hezbollah and other armed groups in Lebanon could look to start a second front on its Northern border.
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Israel has increased its military presence along the Lebanese border since it began its assault on Gaza [Getty]

Israel's army said Monday it was evacuating residents living along its northern border with Lebanon amid rising tensions there 10 days into its war with Palestinian group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli civilian and an army officer were killed Sunday in missile attacks from Lebanon, and the army carried out retaliatory strikes and attacked infrastructure of the Hezbollah militant group.

The Israeli army Monday noted in a statement "the implementation of a plan to evacuate residents of northern Israel who live in the area up to two kilometres from the Lebanese border to state-funded guesthouses".

The move affects thousands of people living in 28 communities.

Many have already left the area after repeated cross-border fire in recent days has claimed lives on both sides of the UN-patrolled border between Lebanon and Israel which remain technically at war.

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Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said his country had "no interest in a war in the north, we don't want to escalate the situation".

"If Hezbollah chooses the path of war, it will pay a very heavy price," he said on Sunday. "But if it restrains itself, we'll respect the situation and keep things the way they are".

Israel has waged a new assault on Gaza since Hamas staged an unprecedented attack on October 7 in which its gunmen shot, stabbed and mutilated people in a surprise onslaught that shocked the nation.

The attack and fighting since have killed more than 1,400 in Israel which has vowed to destroy Hamas and responded with a brutal bombing campaign on Gaza that has killed more than 2,750 Palestinians.