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Israel strikes two Hezbollah cells in Lebanon, says military

Israeli aircraft struck two Hezbollah cells in Lebanon early on Monday, which were planning to launch anti-tank missiles and rockets toward Israel, its military said, as fighting flared across the two countries’ shared border.

Lebanon’s state-run news agency NNA reported an Israeli air strike on the southern outskirts of Aitaroun, in southern Lebanon. It did not provide details.

The military said one cell was adjacent to the Israeli town of Mattat, around 13 kilometres (8 miles) southwest of Aitaroun. It said the other was further north in the disputed Shebaa Farms area. The military said it struck both cells before they fired.

It was not immediately clear if the two sides were referring to the same set of incidents.

Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel have been trading fire at the frontier with increasing frequency since Palestinian group Hamas carried out a shock attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel responded with intense air strikes on Gaza.

Israel has moved to evacuate 42 communities along its northern front with Lebanon over the fighting, which Hezbollah says has killed at least 26 of its fighters since October 7.

Lebanese security sources say 11 fighters with Palestinian groups in Lebanon, allied to Hezbollah, have been killed in the border area, alongside four civilians.

At least five Israeli soldiers and one civilian have been killed on Israel’s side of the frontier, according to Israeli military reports.

(Published 23 October 2023, 00:34 IST)

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