At least three killed in south Lebanon as Israel, Hezbollah resume fighting

Israeli shelling kills a woman and her son in Houla as Hezbollah says one of its fighters is also killed.

Smoke billows up from Israeli shelling on the outskirts of the village of Tair Harfa in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel on November 18, 2023 [File: AFP]

Israeli shelling has killed three people in southern Lebanon, Lebanon’s state news agency reports after the end of a truce between Israel and the Palestinian armed group Hamas prompted a resumption of hostilities at the Israel-Lebanon border.

The Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, said one of its fighters was among those killed on Friday.

It said it had carried out several attacks on Israeli military positions at the border in support of Palestinians in Gaza, where a weeklong pause in the fighting ended early in the day.

The Israeli army said its artillery struck sources of fire from Lebanon and its air defences had intercepted two launches. The army also said it struck a “terrorist cell”. Sirens warning of incoming rockets sounded in several towns in northern Israel, sending residents running for shelter.

Lebanon’s National News Agency reported that two people were killed by Israeli shelling in the Lebanese border town of Houla and one person was killed in the village of Jebbayn.

A woman and her 35-year-old son were killed in Houla, Shakeeb Koteich, the head of its municipal council, told the Reuters news agency, saying both were civilians. Hezbollah later said one of its members was killed in Houla.

“A shell landed near the house, and then a second one hit the house,” Koteich said by telephone.

Since the eruption of the Hamas-Israel war on October 7, Hezbollah has mounted near daily rocket attacks on Israeli positions at the border while Israel has conducted air and artillery strikes in southern Lebanon.

It has been the worst fighting since a 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, which is part of an Iran-backed alliance that also includes Hamas. About 100 people in Lebanon have been killed during the hostilities, 80 of them Hezbollah fighters. Tens of thousands of people have fled from both sides of the border.

On November 5, an Israeli air attack killed four civilians – three children and their grandmother. Three Lebanese journalists have also been killed in Israeli attacks.

Hezbollah released statements claiming five attacks on Israeli military positions at the border, saying they were “in support of our steadfast Palestinian people … and its valiant and honourable resistance”.

A spokesperson for the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon told Reuters there had been shelling close to its headquarters near the coastal town of Naqoura and in Aita al-Shaab, also in southern Lebanon, in the late afternoon.

“Hezbollah has linked what happens at the border with what happens in Gaza,” said Nabil Boumonsef, deputy editor-in-chief of Lebanon’s Annahar newspaper.

“All the while the war in Gaza continues, Lebanon will remain threatened by the danger of a major escalation.”

Senior Hezbollah politician Hassan Fadlallah earlier said the group was vigilant and ready after the Hamas-Israel truce ended.

“In Lebanon, we are concerned in facing this challenge, being vigilant, and always ready to confront any possibility and any danger that may arise in our country,” he said.

“No one thinks that Lebanon has been spared from this Zionist targeting or that what is happening in Gaza cannot affect the situation in Lebanon,” he said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies