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Israeli jets strike Lebanon, killing five Hezbollah fighters

Israeli jets strike Lebanon, killing at least five Hezbollah fighters amid escalation of border clashes
2 min read
South Lebanon
21 October, 2023
Saturday night's strikes were the first time that Israeli jets struck targets inside of Lebanon since the start of border clashes on 8 October, amid Israel's war on Gaza.
The steadily escalating clashes between Israel and Hezbollah could spark a regional war, analysts have warned [Getty]

Israeli jets carried out a barrage of airstrikes in southwest Lebanon on Saturday night, killing at least five Hezbollah fighters and marking the first time that Israeli jets struck Lebanese territory since the start of border clashes on 8 October.

The strikes targeted the town of Aita as-Shaab and the vicinity of Yaroun close to the Lebanese-Israeli border, bringing the number of Hezbollah fighters killed since the start of the conflict to 18.

Earlier on Saturday, Hezbollah announced that they targeted an Israeli military barracks in the upper Galilee, injuring an unspecified number of Israeli fighters.

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Israel and Hezbollah have exchanged rocket fire along the Lebanese border for almost two weeks, following a strike by the Lebanese militia on Israel "in solidarity" with Hamas' Operation al-Aqsa Flood.

Though the tit-for-tat exchanges have been limited to a few kilometers on either side of the border, the intensity of fighting has gradually ramped up.

Neither Hezbollah nor Israel have signaled that they want a full-scale war, but the expected Israeli ground invasion of Gaza is reportedly a red line for the Lebanese militia.

Iran, Hezbollah's backer, said last week that if there was a ground invasion into Gaza, it would use "all resistance forces" in the region against Israel.

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Analysts have said the involvement of Hezbollah in the Gaza-Israel war could pull other states like Iran and Syria into the fight, increasing the chances of a regional war.

On Friday, Israel told residents of the city of Kiryat Shimona, which sits just two kilometers from the border, to evacuate over fears of further clashes with Hezbollah.

On the Lebanese side of the border, residents have fled en masse to the nearby city of Tyre, as well as to the capital city of Beirut in anticipation of a greater escalation with Israel.