Israel's Military Strikes Hezbollah Command Center In Serious Escalation

This weekend has witnessed a significant escalation between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hezbollah along the southern Lebanese border. 

Israeli media reported that a Hezbollah command center has been attacked. "The IDF says fighter jets have hit a Hezbollah military headquarters in Lebanon in response to attacks on northern Israel today, including one that left a soldier moderately wounded," TOI reports.

Israeli strikes over Lebanon's southern town of Kfar Kila last week, via AFP

This came following Hezbollah attacks on multiple Israeli military and civilian positions. The IDF then expanded its artillery shelling. While since Oct.7 exchanges of fire have been daily, the weekend saw an expansion of the frequency of these strikes.

Northern Israel's Kibbutz Menara was attacked in the Saturday flare-up in violence. The northern Israel community said: "The harsh reality is that from the beginning of the war, dozens of missiles were fired towards the kibbutz, most of them anti-tank missiles. As a result, at least 86 out of 155 apartments were affected with various degrees of damage," according to an official statement issued by the Kibbutz. 

On Friday some 20 rockets were fired on Israel from Lebanon within only a 24-period. Early in the Gaza conflict, some days might have witnessed a handful of rockets and mortars fired in what has remained a "limited" front. But it's a deeply worrying sign that the 'norm' has now become dozens of projectiles exchanged on any given day.

Soon after Oct.7, Israel began evacuating dozens of towns and settlements near the border, to within 2km of it, after Hezbollah rockets began raining down. At this point Israel says at least 80,000 of its citizens are still forced to stay away from their residences amid the Hezbollah threat. They have effectively become temporary refugees.

In Gaza, the IDF issued a new casualty count over the weekend, as follows:

The Israel Defense Forces announced Sunday the names of nine soldiers killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip throughout the previous day, bringing the number of troops killed over the entire weekend to 14, as the military deepened its offensive against the Hamas terror group.

Five soldiers of the Combat Engineering Corps and a paramedic were killed by an anti-tank guided missile that hit a Namer armored engineering vehicle they were in, in southern Gaza. Another four were killed by bombs in two separate incidents during battles with gunmen in central Gaza.

The deaths bring the number of troops killed since the start of the ground operation in late October to 153.

Watch: Hezbollah has published a series of clips showing the continued degrading of Israeli defense communications facilities along the border...

As for operation in Israel's north, there have been conflicting accounts regarding Israeli leadership's intentions. Some reports have claimed that Netanyahu wants to launch a preemptive war to eradicate Hezbollah along with Hamas. But others say Israel's command understands that opening a full front with the Iran-backed paramilitary group might seriously overextend Israeli forces, also at a politically sensitive moment.

Hezbollah is widely seen as a more formidable, better-armed force as well - and thus it could potentially become an even bloodier campaign than what's taking place now in the Gaza Strip if a full war front is opened up.

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