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Three wounded in Israeli strikes on east Lebanon's Baalbek

By AFP

March 24, 2024 08:59 AM


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Three people were wounded by Israeli air strikes on Lebanon's eastern city of Baalbek overnight, one of which hit a two-storey building, an AFP correspondent said early Sunday.

The city is a stronghold of the Hamas ally Hezbollah and it was the third time the area had been hit in more than five months of fighting between Israel and the Iran-backed Lebanese Islamist movement.

The Israeli military said in a statement fighter jets "struck a Hezbollah manufacturing site containing weapons in the area of Baalbek".

The AFP correspondent said the Israeli strikes targeted a Hezbollah centre that had been deserted for some time, wounding three residents in nearby buildings.

"The Israeli air force fired five missiles at a two-storey inhabited building in al-Osseira, on the outskirts of Baalbeck," he said.

Governor Bashir Khodr said on social media platform X that three people had been wounded.

The Israeli military also said "approximately 50 launches were identified from Lebanon toward northern Israel, a number of launches were intercepted while the rest fell in open areas".

Hezbollah said it fired "more than 60 Katyusha-type rockets" at two Israeli military positions in the occupied Golan Heights in retaliation for the earlier strikes by Israel.

Israel has been launching air strikes deeper and deeper into Lebanese territory for several weeks against Hezbollah positions, heightening the threat of open warfare and an expansion of the conflict in Gaza.

However, the strike at al-Osseira, some 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the Israeli-Lebanese border, ended a period of relative calm that had lasted around 10 days.

Hezbollah began launching near-daily attacks against Israeli military positions on October 8 in support of its Palestinian ally Hamas in Gaza and said on Saturday it had carried out several more strikes.

It says it will only end its attacks on Israel if there is a ceasefire in Gaza.

At least 323 people have been killed in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah fighters, but also at least 56 civilians, according to an AFP count.

The constant exchange of fire, which was initially confined to areas close to the border, also displaced thousands of people in southern Lebanon and in northern Israel.

At least 10 Israeli soldiers and seven civilians have been killed in northern Israel, according to the military.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned in February that a possible truce in Gaza would not affect Israel's "objective" of pushing Hezbollah back from its northern border, by force or diplomacy.


AFP


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