Israel says killed Hezbollah rocket unit leader in Lebanon

An Israeli strike killed the deputy head of Hezbollah's rocket unit in south Lebanon on Friday, the Israeli military said, the latest deadly cross-border violence since the Israel-Hamas war erupted.

Hezbollah, which has a powerful arsenal of rockets and missiles, has exchanged near-daily fire with the Israeli army since its ally, Palestinian militant group Hamas, carried out an unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7, triggering war in Gaza.

The hostilities have raised fears of all-out conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, which fought a devastating war in 2006.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency (NNA) said "a raid by an enemy drone targeted a car" in Bazouriyeh in the southern district of Tyre, leaving at least one person dead.

A Lebanese military source, requesting anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the person killed was "a Hezbollah official."

The Israeli army said the Bazouriyeh strike killed the deputy head of Hezbollah's rocket unit, identifying him as Ali Abdel Hassan Naim, describing him as "one of the leaders for heavy-warhead rocket fire and responsible for conducting and planning attacks against Israeli civilians."

Hezbollah said seven of its fighters, including one it identified as Naim, had been killed by Israeli fire, without specifying when or where they died.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant toured the Israeli army's northern command on Friday "to closely examine another successful termination like the one that was executed this morning," he said in a post.

Gallant said the Israeli army would keep up its operations against Hezbollah, and its leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was to blame for the consequences, including members killed and wounded.

"We will make them pay a price for every attack that comes out from Lebanon," he said.

Seven Hezbollah fighters were killed by an Israeli strike in Syria on Friday, a Britain-based war monitor said earlier.

An AFP correspondent reported the vehicle targeted in Bazouriyeh was destroyed and debris scattered nearby.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah says it is acting in support of Hamas and the embattled Palestinian people with its attacks. Israel has targeted Hezbollah and Hamas officials inside Lebanon in response.

Recent days have seen an uptick in deadly exchanges, and the White House called on both Israel and Lebanon Thursday to put a high priority on restoring calm.

The United Nations peacekeeping force in south Lebanon said it was "deeply disturbed" by attacks on health care facilities, after several strikes blamed on Israel killed rescue workers in southern Lebanon this week.

Cross-border fire since October has killed at least 347 people in Lebanon, mostly Hezbollah fighters, but also including at least 68 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

The fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people in southern Lebanon and in northern Israel, where the military says 10 soldiers and eight civilians have been killed.

Source: Agence France Presse

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