Children narrowly escape deadly Nabatiyeh strike on Hezbollah fighter

  • W460
  • W460
  • W460
  • W460

Lebanese school children on a minibus had a narrow escape Thursday when a drone strike killed a Hezbollah fighter in the car ahead, blowing out the windscreen of their vehicle and wounding three pupils.

The injured children were hospitalised with cuts from flying glass after the aerial attack, which state media and a source close to the Iran-backed militant group blamed on Israel.

"At first, we didn't understand what was happening, and there was panic among the children," said Ahmad Qubaisi, 57, who was driving the bus with 18 children on board.

"Suddenly a strike hit the car in front of us" near the town of Nabatiyeh, about 13 kilometres (eight miles) from the Israeli border, he said.

"The bus's windshield shattered... I backed up and that's when the second strike hit the car" in front of him on the Kfar Dajjal-Nabatiyeh road, Qubaisi added.

Hezbollah announced the death of one of its fighters, Mohammad Farran from Nabatiyeh.

Farran was a 35-year-old high school teacher and was heading to the Hassan Kamel al-Sabah School where he teaches Physics, media outlets said.

The Israeli army said Farran was in charge of manufacturing strategic weapons belonging to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

"In recent years, Farran has been working on manufacturing unique, strategic weapons for Hezbollah," the army said, adding that Farran's assassination aimed at striking the growing capabilities of Hezbollah's weapons which are designed to target Israel.

Hezbollah retaliated to Farran's "assassination" and to "the injuring and terrorising of children" with dozens of Katyusha rockets on two command centers in the Illit base and in Beit Hillel in north Israel.

It later targeted surveillance equipment in the Israeli Metula and al-Raheb posts.

Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, has traded near daily cross-border fire with Israeli forces since the Palestinian group's October 7 attack on southern Israel that sparked the war in Gaza.

The fighting has killed at least 427 people in Lebanon, mostly militants but also including 82 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Israel says 14 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed on its side of the border.

The violence has raised fears of all-out conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, which went to war in 2006.

Despite the fatalities, both sides have so far calibrated the intensity and range of their strikes in efforts to avoid an all-out war between the two countries.

- Blood on the road -

At the site of Thursday's strike, an AFP photographer saw the charred car and blood stains on the road.

Lebanon's official National News Agency reported "an enemy drone attack in the morning on the Kfar Dajjal-Nabatiyeh road".

The attack "killed a car driver" and "wounded three pupils" who were in a bus heading to school, it said.

One of the children, 11-year-old Mohammed Nasser, was lying on a bed in the Nabatiyeh government hospital, a bandage on his bruised forehead.

"The glass shattered... and the car in front of us was burning," the boy recalled.

Fearing more strikes, he said, "we put our schoolbags on our heads".

Standing beside him, his aunt showed AFP his blood-stained school uniform.

The boy's father, Ali Nasser, said that "I was working in my field when my brother-in-law called telling me my son had been injured".

"Fortunately, his injuries are not serious," he added.

The Hassan Kamel al-Sabah School later said that the man killed, Farran, was a physics teacher at the school and that it mourned his death.

Comments 1
Missing un520 24 May 2024, 02:35

Empty vessels make the most noise....