Hezbollah Launches Drone Strike on Base in Northern Israel. Israel’s Military Says There’s No Damage

Hezbollah said it launched a drone strike at the Israeli army’s northern headquarters Tuesday in retaliation for recent strikes in Lebanon that killed top Hamas and Hezbollah officials.

Israel’s military acknowledged that one of its army bases in northern Israel was targeted but said there were no injuries or damage. It did not specify where the base was located.

Also Tuesday, an Israeli drone strike in Lebanon killed three Hezbollah members, officials said.

Hezbollah said it struck at the Israeli army’s northern command headquarters in Safed with several drones.

Hezbollah said the attack was in retaliation for an Israeli strike in Beirut last week that killed top Hamas official Saleh Arouri and six others, and for a drone strike on Monday that killed Hezbollah commander Wissam al-Tawil, the most senior member of the Iran-backed group to be killed in recent months.

The city of Safed is somewhat removed from where most of the daily Israel-Hezbollah skirmishes have been taking place as it is about 12 kilometers (7 miles) from the border.

The Israeli military said its air defense system was activated to try to intercept “hostile aircraft” and that a projectile struck the base, without specifying where it hit.

Hezbollah later said it also attacked at least six Israeli posts along the border.

In the southern Lebanese village of Khirbet Selm, thousands of people took part Tuesday in the funeral of Hezbollah commander al-Tawil. His coffin, draped in Hezbollah’s yellow flag, was carried through the streets to the cemetery where he was laid to rest.

Israeli officials have been demanding for weeks that Hezbollah withdraw its fighters from the border area to allow tens of thousands of Israelis displaced by the fighting to return to their homes. During a visit to Israel last month, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said a “negotiated outcome” would be the best way to reassure residents of northern Israel.

“We in Hezbollah, we are the party of martyrs and become stronger by our martyrs,” Sheik Nabil Qaouk a member of Hezbollah’s Central Council, said in a speech during the funeral. He added that al-Tawil’s killing will not stop attacks along the border and will not return displaced Israelis to their homes near the border with Lebanon.

Shortly before the funeral, an Israeli drone strike on the village inflicted casualties, killing a Hezbollah member, according to a Hezbollah official.

Earlier on Tuesday, an Israeli drone strike on the southern village of Ghandouriyeh hit a car, killing three Hezbollah members, according to two security officials and a Hezbollah official. It came a day after al-Tawil was killed in a drone strike in a nearby village.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with briefing regulations.

State-run National News Agency reported than when an ambulance tried to reach the car hit in Ghandouriyeh, a drone fired a missile in front of it to cut the road, wounding a paramedic.

Tuesday’s attacks, relatively far from areas of operations along the Lebanon-Israel border, show the rising tensions along the frontier since Hezbollah started attacking Israeli military posts following the deadly Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Hezbollah says by keeping Israel’s northern front active, it is helping to reduce pressure on Hamas in Gaza.

Hezbollah has lost 150 fighters in the near-daily exchanges of fire.

There was no immediate word on the identities of the three Hezbollah members who were killed in the strike on Ghandouriyeh, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the border with Israel.

– Hussein Malla, AP News

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