Israeli Military strikes Hezbollah targets in Southern Lebanon

The Israeli military struck over 20 targets of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, following rocket fire into northern Israel. The exchanges, ongoing since October 8, risk escalating the conflict between bitter enemies Israel and Hezbollah.

The Israeli military said it struck more than 20 targets belonging to the militant Hezbollah group in southern Lebanon on Friday, the latest salvo in an escalating exchange of fire along the volatile frontier.

The strikes came in response to rocket fire from Lebanon into northern Israel on Thursday, which was itself retaliation for earlier Israeli airstrikes. The cross-border exchanges have been ongoing since Oct. 8, when Hezbollah launched rockets at Israel in solidarity with Palestinians amid a flare-up of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel and Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon, are bitter enemies that fought a monthlong war in 2006. The sides have traded frequent strikes in recent weeks, stoking fears that the situation could escalate into a broader conflict neither appears to want.

“The strikes were a response to yesterday’s rockets as well as recurring security violations,” said Lt. Col. Amnon Shefler, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces. “We don’t want an escalation, but we’re ready for any scenario.” There was no immediate response from Lebanese officials or Hezbollah’s media relations office.

The Israeli military said it held Lebanon responsible for any attacks from its territory and vowed to respond aggressively to any further assaults.

Israel and Lebanon are technically in a state of war, and their shared border is patrolled by United Nations peacekeepers. Israel has warned repeatedly that it will not tolerate any missile threat from Hezbollah, which it views as the most serious immediate threat it faces.

Hezbollah has condemned the violence in the Palestinian territories and threatened to retaliate for alleged Israeli provocations at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, revered by both Muslims and Jews.

Israel has said it holds the Lebanese government responsible for attacks from within Lebanon, where the militant Hezbollah group wields significant power.

The latest exchanges have centred on an area known as the Shebaa Farms, which Lebanon and Hezbollah say belongs to Lebanon while Israel and the United Nations regard it as part of the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights captured from Syria.