Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah is scheduled to speak on Friday for the first time since the war began.
Lebanese Hezbollah attacked 19 Israeli positions simultaneously along the border, triggering a retaliatory attack by Israel, a day before an anticipated speech by the group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah.
The Iran-backed armed group said it simultaneously targeted military sites along the border at 3:30 pm (13:30 GMT) on Thursday with “guided missiles, artillery shelling” and other weapons.
The Israeli army said it carried out a “large-scale attack” against the group, with “warplanes and helicopters” attacking Hezbollah targets “in response to gunfire from Lebanese territory earlier today, in addition to attacks with artillery and tank fire.”
The Israeli emergency medical service Magen David Adom said that another barrage of rockets wounded two people in the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona, near the Lebanese border.
The Lebanese wing of the military wing of the Hamas movement said that it fired dozens of rockets at the town “in response to the occupation’s massacres against our people in Gaza.”
The Israeli-Lebanese border has witnessed an escalation in mutual exchanges, especially between the Israeli army and Hamas’s ally, Hezbollah, since the start of the war, resulting in the deaths of more than 9,000 Palestinians in Gaza since then, as well as more than 1,400 people in Israel. Mostly in the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7.
A highly anticipated speech
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah is scheduled to speak on Friday for the first time since the outbreak of war.
Many people in Lebanon are eagerly awaiting the speech, and have been shaken by fear for weeks of the outbreak of a catastrophic conflict. Some said they would not make plans after Friday, believing his comments would signal opportunities for escalation.
The speech will also be eagerly followed outside Lebanon, where Nasrallah is a leading voice in the informal coalition known as the “Axis of Resistance,” which Iran leads to counter the influence of the United States and Israel.
The coalition includes Iraqi Shiite Muslim militias, which fire on American forces in Syria and Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen, who Waged in conflict By launching drones into Israel.
The speech will be broadcast in conjunction with marches called by Hezbollah to honor its fallen fighters.
There is no indication that Hezbollah is prepared to withdraw “in full force.”
French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said that Lebanon “does not need a war” with Israel, during a visit on Thursday to his country’s unit participating in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
He added that such a war “could have major escalatory effects on the entire region.”
The White House says it is concerned about attacks by Hezbollah on Israeli forces, but National Security spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a news conference on Thursday that he believes there is “no indication yet specifically that Hezbollah is ready to go in full force.” “.
Earlier on Thursday, Hezbollah said it shot down an Israeli drone with a surface-to-air missile, the second such announcement in days.
Official media reported that the Lebanese army recovered the bodies of two shepherds killed by Israeli fire on Thursday, bringing to 66 the death toll in Lebanon since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, according to a tally by Agence France-Presse.
Most of the dead on the Lebanese side were Hezbollah fighters, but the number also includes seven civilians, one of whom is a journalist.
On the Israeli side, nine people were killed, eight soldiers and one civilian, according to the army.
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