Hostilities mount on Lebanon border as Hezbollah and Israel swap strikes

The series of attacks revives fears that the war in Gaza could escalate across the region.

A Lebanese army vehicle
A Lebanese army vehicle blocks a road leading to a destroyed warehouse which was hit by Israeli air raids on the outskirts of Buday village near Baalbek town, east Lebanon, February 26, 2024 [AP Photo]

Tensions have escalated as Hezbollah and Israel exchanged strikes on the Israel-Lebanon border.

The Iran-aligned Hezbollah said on Tuesday that it had fired a “large volley” at the Meron base in northern Israel. Shortly afterwards, Israeli strikes were reported in several towns across southern Lebanon.

The swap of strikes came after Israeli warplanes carried out a rare attack on targets deep inside Lebanon on Monday. The rise in hostilities revives concerns that the war in Gaza threatens escalation across the region.

Hezbollah said it had targeted the “Meron air control base … with a large salvo of rockets from several launchers”. The Israeli army said about 40 rockets had been launched towards Israel from southern Lebanon.

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, said Israeli missiles hit several towns in southern Lebanon.

The Israeli army said in a statement its warplanes attacked a military compound and infrastructure for Hezbollah in Jibchit, Mansouri and other villages in the area.


On Monday, Israel hit Buday village near Baalbek, about 100km (60 miles) from the border in eastern Lebanon. It was the first time the Hezbollah stronghold Bekaa Valley had been hit since hostilities in Gaza began in October.

The Israeli army said the attack, which killed at least two Hezbollah members, had struck the armed group’s air defences after the downing of an Israeli drone.

Hezbollah said earlier in the day that it had shot down the unmanned plane with a surface-to-air missile.

Lebanon map Baalbek

It also claimed to have fired 60 rockets at an army station in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in the wake of the Baalbek strikes.

During a funeral procession for one of the fighters killed, Hezbollah lawmaker Hassan Fadlallah slammed Israel for the attack.

“This Zionist encroachment will not push us to retreat, it will rather increase our determination,” he said in a televised address.

Hezbollah and arch foe Israel have exchanged near daily fire as the war in Gaza has raged over the past five months. However, until now, the hostilities have been limited mainly to the border areas.

The Lebanon-based armed group has described its strikes as part of a campaign to support Palestinians under fire in the Gaza Strip, where almost 30,000 civilians have been killed, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health.

But on Sunday, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said there would be no decline in Israeli action against Hezbollah even if a ceasefire were agreed upon in Gaza.

Since the hostilities began, Israel’s attacks on Lebanon have killed about 50 civilians and around 200 Hezbollah fighters. Attacks by Hezbollah have killed a dozen or so Israeli soldiers and five civilians.

On both sides of the border, thousands have been uprooted and displaced as many move to find safety in other parts of their respective countries.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies