Israeli strike on motorbike in Southern Lebanon kills one: Reports

Lebanon’s National News Agency said the early morning strike targeted the motorbike in Aitaroun, near the country’s border with Israel.

An Israeli airstrike hit a motorbike in the southern Lebanese town of Aitaroun on Thursday, killing one person and injuring another, according to Lebanese media reports.

Lebanon’s National News Agency said the early morning strike targeted the motorbike in Aitaroun, near the country’s border with Israel. The An-Nahar news site identified the deceased as a Lebanese man and said a second person was wounded in the strike.

There was no immediate comment from Israeli authorities on the reports of a strike in Lebanese territory. However, Israel’s military has carried out numerous strikes in recent years on vehicles transiting the Lebanese border area, claiming it targets militants suspected of planning or conducting cross-border attacks.

Video footage from the scene shared by Lebanese media showed wreckage smoldering on the side of the road in Aitaroun, a village east of the port city of Tyre. Security forces cordoned off the area as residents inspected the mangled motorcycle.

The apparent airstrike comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Israeli officials have repeatedly warned they will not allow an Iranian-backed entrenchment in Lebanon and have struck Hezbollah targets inside Lebanese borders over the years.

Last month, Israeli airstrikes hit a truck convoy transporting Iranian munitions outside Damascus, according to Syrian opposition sources. While stopping short of claiming responsibility, Israeli officials signalled the strike was part of its efforts to disrupt Iranian arms flowing into the region.

Hezbollah, which fought a monthlong war with Israel in 2006, has thousands of fighters stationed across Lebanon. Lebanese officials have repeatedly called on the international community to prevent such strikes on its soil. But with Hezbollah’s deep influence in Lebanon, the government in Beirut has taken little action to rein in the group’s activities along the border.

The deadly strike in Aitaroun threatens to raise tensions further between bitter enemies Israel and Iran, which could spark confrontations through their proxies and allies. It remains unclear if the motorcycle riders had any affiliation with militant groups.