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Hezbollah And Israel Exchange Fire And War Threats

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As clashes along the Lebanon-Israel border heated up, Hezbollah announced the deaths of five more militants, and Israel’s prime minister warned Lebanon on Sunday not to get dragged into a new war.

Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim political party with an armed wing of the same name, is based in the tiny Mediterranean country. Since Israel’s war with the Palestinian group Hamas began, Israeli soldiers and militants have exchanged fire across the border, but the launches have been limited in scope.

Since Hamas’ bloody rampage in southern Israel on October 7, Hezbollah has reported the deaths of 24 of its militants. At least six Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants, as well as four civilians, have been killed in the near-daily fighting.

Hezbollah has threatened to escalate if Israel launches a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, which Israel has said it will do aggressively.

“If Hezbollah enters the conflict, it will miss the Second Lebanon War.” It will make the biggest mistake of its life,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday while visiting troops stationed near Lebanon’s border. “We will cripple it with a force it cannot even imagine, and the consequences for it and the Lebanese state are devastating.”

In 2006, Hezbollah and Israel fought a month-long war that ended in a tense standoff.

Small arms fire was heard along the tense border from near the Lebanese village of Aitaroun towards the northern Israeli town of Avivim, where key military barracks are located, according to Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency. Meanwhile, Israel shelled areas near the Lebanese town of Blida in the south.

Israel considers Iran-backed Hezbollah to be its most serious threat, with an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel.

People carry the coffin of Bilal Nemr Rmeiti who was killed by Israeli shelling (Image by: AP / Hassan Ammar)

Early Sunday, Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus accused the group of “steadily escalating the situation.” He stated that recent cross-border clashes had resulted in both Israeli troop and civilian casualties, but provided no further details.

Hezbollah released a video on Sunday depicting a Friday attack on the Biranit barracks near the Lebanon-Israel border, which serves as the command centre for the Israeli military’s northern division. The group shared footage of an overhead view of a strike on what it described as a gathering of soldiers.

Conricus stated during a video briefing that the group has recently targeted military positions in Mount Dov, a disputed territory in Lebanon known as Shebaa Farms, where the borders of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel meet.

“The bottom line is… “Hezbollah is engaging in a very dangerous game,” he said. “(It is) critical for everyone in Lebanon to ask themselves the price question. Is the Lebanese state willing to jeopardise what little remains of Lebanon’s prosperity and sovereignty for the sake of terrorists in Gaza?”

The international community and Lebanese authorities have been working hard to avoid a new war in the cash-strapped country.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, has yet to comment on the latest Hamas-Israel conflict, though other officials have. Hassan Fadlallah, a Hezbollah legislator, said on Sunday that Nasrallah’s silence was part of a strategy to deter Israel from Lebanon and “prevent the enemy from reaching its goal in Gaza.”

“When the time comes for his His Eminence (Hassan Nasrallah) to appear in the media, should managing this battle require so, everyone will see that he will reflect public opinion,” Fadlallah was quoted as saying.

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