Netanyahu warns Hezbollah after cross-border attack kills Israeli civilian

Israeli PM says Hezbollah will turn Beirut, southern Lebanon into Gaza and Khan Younis if Iran-backed group’s attacks on Israel continue.

A picture taken from the Israeli side of border with Lebanon shows Israeli shelling near the southern Lebanese village of Aita Al Shaab on November 14
A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon shows Israeli shelling near a southern Lebanese village in November 2023 [File: Jalaa Marey/AFP]

Israel has said that a guided missile attack from Lebanon killed an Israeli civilian in the north of the country, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to warn that Beirut would be turned “into Gaza” if Hezbollah started an all-out war.

The Israeli military said on Thursday that fighters from the Lebanese Shia group carried out an antitank attack in northern Israel.

Hezbollah, which supports the Palestinian group Hamas, said one of the 11 attacks it carried out on Thursday targeted an Israeli barracks in Mattat, a village abutting the Lebanese border.

The Israeli army said its jets struck a Hezbollah command and control centre in response to the Iranian-backed group’s attack.

“If Hezbollah chooses to start an all-out war then it will, by its own hand, turn Beirut and southern Lebanon, not far from here, into Gaza and Khan Younis,” Netanyahu said while visiting troops near the border.

It was not immediately clear if Netanyahu’s comment was linked to the most recent Hezbollah strike.

‘Farmer killed’

Israel’s public broadcaster Kan said the man killed was a farmer and the country’s ambulance service said he was 60 years old.

Hezbollah said Thursday’s assault was in support of Palestinians in Gaza.

The Israel-Palestinian conflict started on October 7 after a deadly attack by Hamas into southern Israel was followed by Israel’s massive air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip.

Since then, Israel and armed groups in southern Lebanon – some 200km (124 miles) from the Gaza Strip, particularly Hezbollah, have engaged in frequent back and forth exchanges across the United Nations-patrolled Israel-Lebanon border.

More than 17,100 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7, according to the authorities in the enclave.

Israel says its death toll stands at about 1,150.

Source: News Agencies