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Israel Hits Southern Lebanon as Threat of Regional War Grows

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31 December 2023, Courier-Mail, by Justin Vallejo

Israel launched “extensive” and “widespread” strikes in southern Lebanon as increased rocket barrages from Hezbollah threatened to spiral the conflict into a regional war.

The escalation comes after the group claimed responsibility for missile attacks on northern Israel in retribution for “martyred” Australian Ali Bazzi and his brother Ibrahim Bazzi.

The Israeli Defence Force said jets struck rocket-launching positions, an antitank missile squad and military infrastructure used by the terror group.

“Moreover, the IDF struck a Hezbollah terrorist cell responsible for launching antitank missiles in the area of Aitaroun and a missile launcher used to launch towards the area of Bar’am in northern Israel earlier today,” an Israeli military statement said.

Hezbollah announced the targeting of settlements in northern Israel with a barrage of 30 Katyusha rockets towards Kiryat Shmona “in response to the enemy’s repeated crimes and its targeting of civilian houses in Bint Jbeil”.

Ali and Ibrahim Bazzi, and Ibrahim’s wife Shorouq Hammoud, were killed in the Israeli air strike on Bint Jbeil. Acting Foreign Minister Mark Dreyfus has said Australia is investigating Hezbollah’s claim Ali Bazzi was one of its terrorists.

Israel intensified its activity against Hezbollah along the northern border with Lebanon amid its ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza.

The IDF said it destroyed a hide-out used by Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar as it closed the net around northern Gaza while reinforcements arrived in Khan Younis in the south.

Sinwar has remained elusive during Israel’s ground offensive, despite rumours of his whereabouts regularly circulating throughout the enclave.

Intense fighting around central Deir al-Balah and Khan Yunis has driven about 100,000 newly displaced people into already overcrowded Rafah, the UN said.

The UN Security Council met in New York following reports of further escalation of tensions in the West Bank.

Israel continued to pound Gaza in the south and strike Hezbollah in the north as Egypt hosted a Hamas delegation for talks to end the conflict. Cairo has proposed renewable ceasefires, a staggered release of hostages for Palestinian prisoners and ultimately an end to the war, say sources close to Hamas. A Hamas official said it would seek “guarantees for a complete Israeli military withdrawal” from Gaza.

Article link: https://todayspaper.couriermail.com.au/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=922f0e48-4f86-458b-925e-d97324da3b1a&share=true
Article source: Courier-Mail | Justin Vallejo | 31.12.23

2024-02-22 05:36:48.000000