Israeli airstrikes kill 10 Lebanese civilians

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The civilian death toll from two Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon has risen to 10, Lebanese state media reported Thursday, making the previous day the deadliest in more than four months of cross-border exchanges.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has vowed to retaliate for Wednesday’s strikes, which hit in the city of Nabatiyeh and a village in southern Lebanon, just hours after projectiles from Lebanon killed an Israeli soldier.

More Israeli strikes were reported in south Lebanon on Thursday and Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the escalation.

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“At a time where we are insisting on calm and call all sides to not escalate, we find the Israeli enemy extending its aggression,” read a statement from his office.

In Nabatiyeh, the strike knocked down part of a building, killing seven members of the family, including a child, the state-run National News Agency said. A boy initially reported missing was found alive under the rubble. Initial reports had said four people were killed.

Hussein Badir, a neighbor of the Berjawi family that was killed in the strike, said he and other neighbors had rushed to the street to dig through the rubble. He said the family was “decent and respectable" and "not involved in anything.”

For Badir, the strike brought back memories of Israeli bombardment during its 2006 war with Hezbollah and also during a 1996 offensive.

“Nobody is doing anything to help us,” he said. “It’s our right to defend ourselves in our country in Lebanon.”

In the village of Souaneh, a woman and her two young children were killed. The Lebanese civilian death toll included six women and three children while three Hezbollah fighters were also killed.

Earlier Wednesday, the fire from Lebanon struck the northern Israeli town of Safad, killing a female Israeli soldier and wounding eight others, all soldiers, according to the Israeli military, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the strikes in Lebanon.

Hezbollah did not claim the strike in Safad.

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The fatalities marked a significant escalation in more than four months of daily cross-border exchanges triggered by the October 7 outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

The war began with the surprise attack in southern Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, an ally of Hezbollah.

Government institutions, schools and the Lebanese University were to close on Thursday in protest of the airstrikes.

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