Israeli forces fired rockets into southern Lebanon, hitting Hezbollah forces after the terrorist group fired anti-tank missiles across the border, initially hitting Israeli soldiers, officials said.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Lt. Jonathan Conricus said on Wednesday that the Israeli military shelled the Lebanese border town of Duhaira and the surrounding area from where the rocket attack originated. He also said Israel was actively fighting a secondary front along Israel’s northern border with Hezbollah in Lebanon, in addition to the IDF’s counteroffensive in the Gaza Strip.
“We have deployed tens of thousands of additional units along the northern border,” Conricus said, including infantry, special forces, armor, artillery, air force and “additional assets, including intelligence and logistics.”
He added: “The message to Hezbollah is very clear: ‘If they try to attack, we are ready and vigilant on our borders.’
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Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed Shiite militia based in Lebanon. The US State Department has designated it a foreign terrorist group.
This group operates separately from Hamas, another US state-designated tenor group, which is based in Gaza. The Iranian-backed group has supported Hamas attacks on Israel but has not officially joined the war.
Israeli reinforcements were sent to the Israel-Lebanon border after Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles at an Israeli military position in the northern border town of Aramsha.
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The Lebanese militant group claimed in a statement on Wednesday that the attack resulted in a “large number” of wounded as well as some dead soldiers, without specifying any numbers. Hezbollah said the attack was in response to Israeli shelling on Sunday that killed three Hezbollah fighters.
He also tried to storm the border, the IDF said.
“In South Lebanon, Hezbollah has already fired anti-tank missiles and rockets against our positions and soldiers, fortunately without significant casualties,” Conricus said. “There has already been an attempted infiltration of Islamic Jihad terrorists into Israel. This attempt was successfully thwarted by the IDF, unfortunately at the expense of a superior [IDF] officer and two other soldiers. “
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According to Conricus, Israel was fighting on a third front after detecting rockets being fired from Syria. He did not say whether the missiles were fired by Hezbollah, a Syrian militant group or another faction. The IDF returned fire, hitting where the rockets were fired, he said.
“The death toll is 1,200 Israelis,” Conricus said. “I will repeat that number because it is unimaginable. 1,200 dead Israelis — the vast majority of them [are] civilians.”
Conricus clarified that the increase in the death toll was not due to new fighting, but because the IDF was able to comb the areas that Hamas invaded on Saturday and “they are discovering bodies in various communities that Hamas infiltrated and carried out their massacres ».
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The IDF spokesman said there were another 2,700 wounded. He said those numbers are expected to rise.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.