Civil defense member injured as Israel strikes al-Taybeh


Israeli artillery shelled Monday the southern town of al-Taybeh, targeting members of the Hezbollah-affiliated Islamic Health Committee, as they tried to extinguish a fire following an Israeli drone attack on the town.

The shelling injured a member of the Islamic Health Committee in the chest, the National News Agency said.

The Israeli army had shelled overnight the southern border towns of Kfarkila and al-Khiam with white phosphorus bombs, while warplanes raided Aitaroun.

On Sunday, Hezbollah targeted two military positions in northern Israel with an armed drone in response to the killing of an Islamist commander, Ayman Ghotmeh, in Khiara, in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa area near Syria.

For almost two weeks, tensions and cross-border fire have escalated, along with bellicose rhetoric, raising fears of a wider Middle East war.

Israel and the powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, had already been exchanging near-daily cross-border fire since the Gaza war erupted on October 7.

- 'Severely wounded' -

Israel's military said one of its soldiers "was severely wounded" as a result of a drone strike on Ayelet Hashahar near the Israeli city of Safed, as Hezbollah struck further south into Israel.

On Tuesday the Israeli military had announced that plans for an offensive in Lebanon had been "approved and validated", after which Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said no part of Israel would be spared in the event of an all-out war.

Hezbollah on Saturday evening published a video showing Israeli positions and coordinates, along with an excerpt of Nasrallah's speech in which he says "if war is imposed on Lebanon, the resistance will fight without restrictions or rules".

Days earlier, it had circulated a nine-minute video showing aerial footage purportedly taken by the movement over northern Israel, including what it said were sensitive military, defense and energy facilities and infrastructure in the city and port of Haifa.

The cross-border violence has killed at least 480 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also 93 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Israeli authorities say at least 15 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed in the country's north.

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