Israeli army says Kounine strike 'eliminated' a Hezbollah commander

An air strike in south Lebanon "eliminated" a Hezbollah missile unit commander, Israel's military said, with Israel and Hezbollah exchanging near-daily cross-border fire for months.

The Israeli Air Force "struck a vehicle in the area of Kounine in Lebanon in which Ismail al-Zein was located," the Israeli military said. "Al-Zein was a significant commander in the Anti-Tank Missile Unit of Hezbollah's Radwan Forces," the Israeli army added.

Hezbollah confirmed the death of al-Zein in a statement which did not specify if he belonged to Radwan, an elite unit.

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

The village of Kounine is about 10 kilometers from the Lebanon-Israel border.

The strike came two days after the Israeli military said they had killed the deputy head of Hezbollah's rocket unit in a strike on southern Lebanon.

Friday's strike in the town of Bazouriyeh killed Ali Abdel Hassan Naim, "one of the leaders for heavy-warhead rocket fire and responsible for conducting and planning attacks against Israeli civilians," the Israeli army said at the time.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant later toured the army's northern command and said the military would keep up its operations against Hezbollah.

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

Also on Friday seven Hezbollah fighters were killed by an Israeli strike in Syria, according to a Britain-based war monitor.

Israel did not comment on that report, but at the northern command Gallant added: "We have turned from the ones who are repelling Hezbollah to the ones who are chasing them. We reach all the places in which Hezbollah is present."

Cross-border fire since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza on October 7 has killed at least 348 people in Lebanon, mostly Hezbollah fighters, and at least 68 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

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

Hezbollah says it is targeting Israel in support of the Palestinian people and Hamas.

Hamas' October attack allegedly resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel's retaliatory campaign has killed at least 32,782 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

Source: Agence France Presse

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.