Israeli strikes target eastern Lebanon

Published : 07 Apr 2024 09:53 PM

Israeli strikes targeted eastern Lebanon, where Hezbollah has a strong presence, at dawn on Sunday, a source close to the Iran-backed group said, but no casualties were reported.

"Israeli strikes targeted two areas in the Bekaa Valley, Janta and Sifri," the source told AFP in the Baalbek region in Lebanon's east.

Janta is an arid, mountainous region close to the border with Syria, while Sifri is in the centre of the Bekaa Valley. A source in Lebanon's Civil Defense Department said there were no casualties from the strikes.

Israel and Hezbollah have exchanged near-daily cross-border fire since the Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7, triggering the war in Gaza.

Hezbollah targets Israeli positions close to the border, while Israel retaliates with raids that go deeper and deeper into Lebanese territory and carries out strikes against the Shiite Islamist group's officials.

The latest strikes in eastern Lebanon came after Hezbollah announced on Saturday evening it had shot down an Israeli Hermes 450 drone over Lebanese territory.

The Israeli military confirmed that "a drone operating in Lebanese airspace was shot down" by what it said was a surface-to-air missile and had fallen in Lebanese territory.

Israel launched similar strikes against Hezbollah targets in the Bekaa Valley in February after the group said it had shot down a similar type of Israeli drone.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech on Friday that his movement had not yet used its "main" weapons and reiterated that Hezbollah would cease its attacks only when the war in Gaza ends.

The cross-border hostilities have killed at least 349 people in Lebanon, mostly Hezbollah fighters, but also 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.