Hezbollah, Israel Trade Strikes Along Lebanon Border

Hezbollah commander reported ‘seriously wounded’ in Israeli attack on car

Israel carried out drone strikes in the city of Nabatiyeh in southern Lebanon, reportedly badly wounding a Hezbollah commander and starting a string of tit-for-tat firefights with Hezbollah, which raises concerns of further escalation in the ongoing conflict at Israel’s northern border.

Hezbollah responded to the strike with a flurry of rocket fire against northern Israel, saying it was retaliation for the “Zionist aggression.” The attacks targeted a pair of Israeli military bases at Mt. Meron and Ein Zeitim.

Israel carried out a secondary round of artillery strikes in response to the rocket fire and was quick to insist there weren’t any reports of injuries. Israeli artillery generally targeted Hezbollah and the sources of the rocket fire.

Mt. Meron is the site of Israel’s main strategic air base in the north of the country, and has been a favored target by Hezbollah, often badly damaging the site with anti-tank rockets. There were two attacks in January.

Israel of course has anti-missile systems available in the form of the Iron Dome, but the system is not designed to intercept anti-tank rockets, which means that most of the fire that comes in as anti-tank missiles hit their target.

This attack comes fresh from Israeli claims of hitting some 3,000 Hezbollah targets across Lebanon and Syria since the beginning of the northern conflict in late 2023. There has been no way to confirm the number of targets actually hit, but on days when attacks occur, Israeli media generally reports these involve one strike hitting one or two dozen sites.

Israel has been talking up an outright ground offensive into southern Lebanon for several weeks, with military officials insisting they are ready, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant suggested that the offensive would begin “very soon.”

In the meantime, the US has been trying to negotiate a deal to prevent the offensive. Lebanon is also reporting that there is a serious increase in diplomats offering deals that would see Hezbollah moving out of the immediate border area and the Lebanese military being positioned  between the two in the border zone.

While a deal to prevent the Israeli invasion would be welcomed by any number of nations, it isn’t clear that Lebanon is inclined to move its troops further south, as Israel has shown time and again during this conflict that they’re comfortable hitting Lebanese forces even if they aren’t directly involved in fighting.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.