Israel admits two soldiers killed in Hezbollah drone attack on Metula

Israel admits two soldiers killed in Hezbollah drone attack on Metula
Israel confirmed that two reservists were killed in a drone strike launched by Hezbollah, after initially reporting that some of its soldiers were injured.
3 min read
07 May, 2024
The Israeli army responded by conducting heavy airstrikes in south Lebanon [Getty]

The Israeli military confirmed on Tuesday the death of two of its reserve soldiers in a drone strike a day earlier launched by Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group.

Hezbollah on Monday said it launched the attack on Metula, a northern Israeli settlement on the Lebanese border.

The Israeli military had initially said there were injuries, but Hezbollah-affiliated media reported two soldiers had died.

According to an Israeli military statement, the drone exploded in an area where soldiers from the 551st Brigade’s 6551st Battalion were stationed after a failed interception.

A third soldier was injured, the statement said.

The Israeli army responded by conducting heavy airstrikes across the border and reportedly bombed the alleged site from where the drone was launched.

Hezbollah’s attack came a day after four civilians were killed in an Israeli airstrike in south Lebanon, which Israel has been bombarding near-daily since early October as part of cross-border clashes with Hezbollah, in parallel with the war on Gaza.

The Shia group - which holds sway over south Lebanon and owns a formidable arsenal which outweighs that of the Lebanese Armed Forces - says its cross-border war with Tel Aviv seeks to draw Israeli forces away from the Gaza Strip.

The recent cross-border clashes have been the worst between Hezbollah and Israel since 2006 when the two sides fought a devastating 33-day war.

More than 300 people have been killed in Israeli strikes in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah fighters.

Other, albeit smaller, Lebanese, and Palestinian factions have also taken part in the cross-border attacks on northern Israel.

Israel says 13 soldiers and nine civilians have been killed, but Hezbollah believes the number to be higher, claiming Israel was not being honest about the actual toll.

Mediation efforts being led by the US and France seek to put an end to the violence and find a long-lasting solution between enemy states Lebanon and Israel, which includes implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701, ending land disputes and finally demarcating the border.

Tel Aviv has continuously threatened to take decisive military action against Hezbollah if diplomacy fails, and the Iran-backed group has warned it will draw no limits if Israel chooses to resort to full-blown conflict.

Hezbollah also says it will only accept a truce with Israel once the war on Gaza ends.

Hopes of reaching a ceasefire in Gaza have dimmed after Israeli forces took over the Rafah border crossing on Tuesday, and fears mount over a full Israeli ground invasion of the city.