Hezbollah vows to retaliate after 10 civilians die in Israeli airstrikes

15 February 2024, 17:54

Building destroyed by airstrike
Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon kill 10. Picture: PA

The airstrikes came hours after projectiles from Lebanon killed an Israeli soldier.

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

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

On Thursday evening, Hezbollah said it carried out its “initial response” by firing “tens of Katyusha rockets” on the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona.

Israel Palestinians Lebanon
Smoke rises following an Israel military bombardment in southern Lebanon as seen from northern Israel (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

There was no immediate word on casualties from the town, where most residents have joined the tens of thousands who have fled the area since the fighting began in October.

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

He said in a statement: “At a time when we are insisting on calm and call on all sides not to escalate, we find the Israeli enemy extending its aggression.”

The Israeli military said Thursday’s strikes targeted Hezbollah infrastructure and launch posts.

Lebanese state media said Israel’s air force carried out strikes near the border towns of Labbouneh, Wadi Slouqi, Majdal Selm and Houla, according to the Lebanese state-run National News Agency, or NNA.

The Israeli army would continue to respond to Hezbollah’s regular attacks, said spokesperson Avi Hyman from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

They said: “Our message to Hezbollah has and always will be: Don’t try us.”

In Nabatiyeh, the strike knocked down part of a building, killing seven members of the same 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.

Lebanon Israel Palestinians
Civil defence and rescue workers remove rubble from a building that was hit by an Israeli airstrike in Nabatiyeh, Lebanon (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

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. Three Hezbollah fighters were also killed on Wednesday.

The fire from Lebanon earlier on Wednesday struck the northern Israeli town of Safed, killing a female Israeli soldier and wounding eight people.

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 at the airstrikes.

By Press Association

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