Israeli drone strikes deep into Lebanese territory

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An Israeli drone struck Saturday a vehicle deep in Lebanese territory, official media in Lebanon said, after weeks of skirmishes mainly limited to border areas since the Israel-Hamas war began.

Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) said “an enemy drone targeted a pick-up truck” on a farmland in the Zahrani area on Lebanon’s coast, some 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the Israeli border, without reporting any casualties.

The frontier between the two countries has seen daily exchanges of fire, mainly between Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement and Israel, since October 7 when attacks on Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas sparked war.

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Saturday’s was the deepest Israeli strike on Lebanese territory since the latest hostilities began. It also came hours before Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was due to make a televised address at 3:00 pm (1300 GMT).

The Lebanese army prevented journalists from approaching the area, which is near the Zahrani power plant, one of Lebanon’s ailing energy facilities.

The NNA reported Israeli attacks on areas near the border on Saturday, while an AFP correspondent in northern Israel reported apparent incoming rocket fire after air raid sirens sounded.

Hezbollah said it carried out two cross-border attacks on Israeli troops on Saturday, claiming they caused casualties.

The powerful Shia Muslim movement said Friday that Israeli fire had killed seven of its fighters, without specifying where or when they died.

It later released several statements claiming attacks on northern Israel near the border, including three drone assaults - one of them on an Israeli army barracks.

Military spokesman Daniel Hagari said Israeli forces were “striking extensively in the north” in response to three drone “infiltrations.”

At least 90 people have been killed on the Lebanese side in cross-border skirmishes since last month, according to an AFP tally, most of them Hezbollah combatants.

Six soldiers and two civilians have been killed on the Israeli side.

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