Israel ‘starting to focus on specific targets in southern Lebanon’

BEIRUT: Israeli strikes on Lebanon have escalated in recent days, security sources in Beirut said on Friday.
Seven Hezbollah fighters were killed following clashes in southern Lebanon and Syria. The attacks came 48 hours after offensives in the villages of Hebbariyeh, Naqoura and Tayr Harfa in which 16 people are reported to have died, including Hezbollah members, paramedics and civilians.

Security sources said the Israeli army was now “causing further devastation by striking more specific targets, rather than forests, the outskirts of villages, empty houses and roads to hinder supplies.”
The southern front has witnessed daily hostilities between the Israeli army and Hezbollah since Oct. 8. These have resulted in the deaths of over 300 people on the Lebanese side, massive destruction of adjacent border villages, and the displacement of around 100,000 people.

The sources said Israel was no longer limiting bombing to targets beyond the Litani Line but was focusing on areas deep inside Lebanese territory, as well as areas in Baalbek and around Hermel.

They added Israeli hostilities had “targeted in the past days the Amal Movement and the Islamic Group, which are Hezbollah’s allies, and are openly contributing to the escalation of the situation on the Lebanese southern front.
“The Israeli attack, which targeted at dawn on Friday military centers, gatherings and barracks of the Syrian army and Hezbollah in the vicinity of Aleppo, Syria, was an unprecedented blow to Hezbollah.”

The Hezbollah members killed were: Ahmed Jawad Chhimi, born 1964 in Markaba; Mustafa Ahmed Makki, born 1983 in Tibneen; Ibrahim Anis Al-Zein, born 1982, of Shehour; Ali Mohammed Al-Haf, born 1984, of Hallousiyeh; Ali Mohammed Bakka, born 1994, of Sidon; Mustafa Ali Nassif, born 1991, from Al-Hafeer in the Bekaa valley.

Meanwhile, Ali Abdul Hassan Naim was killed by an Israeli drone as he drove along the Bazouriye — Wadi Gilo road in the Tyre district. The Israeli army has claimed that Naim, from Selaa, is the deputy commander of a Hezbollah rocket and missiles unit.

Hezbollah announced on Friday it had targeted Israel’s Branit barracks in response to attacks in Damascus and Aleppo. This is the first time the organization has responded to attacks outside Lebanese territory.
It also launched strikes on the Zibdeen barracks, in the occupied Lebanese Shebaa Farms, and on soldiers at Hunin Castle.
Israeli media reported sirens in the Margaliot military site in the Galilee panhandle and around Kiryat Shmona, as well as in Yer’un, Doviv, and Baram in Western Galilee.

With reconnaissance planes flying over the south and the Bekaa valley, the Israeli army targeted the outskirts of Wazzani in Marjayoun, firing over the heads of agricultural workers.

Hezbollah MP Hassan Ezzeddine said during the funeral of one member: “The party has the right to defend its homeland and its people and to arm itself and obtain weapons that will deter the enemy.

“So far, the resistance has been fighting with conventional weapons familiar to the enemy. Everything else is currently kept under wraps until the zero hour, should the enemy consider attacking.”