An Israeli reservist with dual US citizenship was killed Thursday by an anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces said.
The soldier was identified as Staff Sgt. Omer Balva, 22, from Herzliya, Israeli media reported. He was the commander of the 9203 Battalion of the Alexandroni Brigade.
Balva was born to Israeli parents but grew up in Rockville, Maryland, where he attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, the Times of Israel reported.
He was one of about 360,000 Israeli reservists called into action after the Islamist group Hamas infiltrated Israel on Oct. 7, brutally killing at least 1,400 Israeli civilians and capturing about 210 people back in Gaza.
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Balva was in the United States last week when he was called up for reserve duty. He immediately flew back to Israel to report for duty, the report said.
Skirmishes along the Israel-Lebanese border between Israeli troops and Iran-backed Hezbollah have become more frequent in recent days as concerns escalate about a second front emerging in Israel’s war with Hamas.
Defense of Israel exchanged fire with Hezbollah terrorists on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon on Saturday after terrorists fired anti-tank missiles into Israeli territory overnight.
The Israeli military said an anti-tank guided missile was fired from Lebanon at the Margaliot area in northern Israel. The IDF responded with a drone strike against the terrorist group.
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In addition, another rocket was fired from Lebanon targeting the Hanita area, the IDF said. Israeli troops responded with artillery fire that hit rocket launchers on the Lebanese side of the border, according to the IDF.
“The IDF is ready for all scenarios in the various sectors and will continue to act for the safety of Israeli citizens,” a military spokesman said.
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Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Saturday that Hezbollah terrorists are paying a “heavy price” for their attacks on Israeli military posts since the war with Hamas began on October 7.
“Hezbollah has decided to join the fighting, we are exacting a heavy price from it,” Galland told troops with the 91st Territorial Division base at the Biranit camp on the border with Lebanon, according to the Times of Israel.
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“I guess the challenges will be bigger [than they are now]and you must take this into account, to be ready as a [coiled] spring for any situation,” he added.
At least 5,700 people have been killed in the war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas, including at least 32 American citizens. Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry claims at least 4,385 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and the West Bank and more than 13,561 injured in Israeli retaliation. At least 10 Americans are feared to be being held captive by Hamas.