Lebanon’s Hezbollah launches drone attacks on Israeli army positions, Israel reacts

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Lebanon’s Hezbollah said it had used two drones packed with explosives to attack an Israeli army command position in the disputed Shebaa Farms area at the Lebanese-Israeli border on Thursday.

Hezbollah launched simultaneous attacks on 19 different positions in northern Israel along the border with Lebanon, a senior Hezbollah source told Reuters.

The source said the positions included military sites but did not elaborate.

It is the first time Hezbollah has declared carrying out an attack against Israeli forces using such drones, and comes a few days after the Iran-backed group said for the first time it had used a surface-to-air missile against an Israeli drone.

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In a statement, Hezbollah said the drones filled with “a large quantity of explosives” had attacked the headquarters of the Israeli battalion in the Shebaa Farms area, and they had hit their targets.

Israel has held the Shebaa Farms, a 15-square-mile (39-square-km) area of land, since the 1967 Middle East war. Both Syria and Lebanon claim the Shebaa Farms are Lebanese.

Hezbollah fighters have been exchanging fire with Israeli forces across the Israeli-Lebanese border since the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel went to war on Oct. 7, in the deadliest escalation at the frontier since a 2006 war.

Israel retaliates with ‘broad assault’

The Israeli military said it targeted Lebanon’s Hezbollah with a “broad assault” on Thursday, as the Iran-backed militant group said it had attacked 19 Israeli positions simultaneously.

Israeli “warplanes and helicopters attacked in recent hours targets of the Hezbollah terror organization in response to fire from Lebanese territory earlier today, together with attacks with artillery and tank fire,” an Israeli military statement said.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency said four people were killed and others wounded in Israeli bombardments of the border region, while Hezbollah announced another of its fighters killed.

The deaths raised to 71 the number killed in Lebanon since the Israel-Hamas war began, according to an AFP tally -- most of them Hezbollah fighters and other combatants but also civilians, one a Reuters journalist.

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