Hezbollah Fires ‘Dozens’ Of Rockets At Israel After Drone Attack Kills Fighter


By Najia Houssari

Hezbollah said it fired “dozens” of Katyusha rockets targeting a barracks in northern Israel on Thursday in retaliation for a deadly strike in southern Lebanon that killed a member of the militant group in the village of Deir Kifa.

It came after fears of a wider regional conflict grew on Wednesday when Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that “no place” in Israel would be spared if authorities in the country declared all-out war against his group. He also threatened to target Cyprus if the island nation allowed Israel to use its air bases.

Israel and Hezbollah have traded cross-border fire on an almost daily basis since the Oct. 7 attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas that triggered the war in the Gaza Strip.

In the attack by Israeli forces on Thursday, a combat drone hit a car on the Deir Kifa-Srifa road, killing its driver, Abbas Ibrahim Hamadeh. The Israeli army described him as a “Hezbollah operations commander in the Jouaiyya area.”

Elsewhere, Ammar Jomaa, the son of cleric Mohammed Jomaa, a Hezbollah official, died when a drone hit the car he was driving on the road to the town of Houmine El-Faouqa. And two people were seriously injured when an Israeli drone struck a pickup truck in the town of Hanouiyeh in the Tyre district.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces attacked four Hezbollah sites. It came shortly after the departure of Amos Hochstein, the US president’s envoy for Lebanon and Israel, who had visited Tel Aviv on Monday and Beirut on Tuesday in an attempt to calm the situation.

On Thursday morning, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the Jish settlement in the Upper Galilee, near the border with Lebanon, had been evacuated.

Nasrallah’s comments on Wednesday raised concerns on both sides about a possible escalation of hostilities.

Michael Malchieli, the Israeli minister of religious services, told Channel 14 news that his ministry, which is responsible for burials, “is preparing for significant scenarios in the north.”

Avichay Adraee, a spokesperson for the Israeli army, said the war in the north is “defensive but has offensive aspects in southern Lebanon. The army leadership discussed plans for confrontation in Lebanon and approved them, and we are awaiting the decision of the political leadership. Our current goal is to keep Hezbollah away from our borders, which we achieve through our strikes against its leaders and interests.”

Eitan Davidi, head of the Margaliot settlement council, said no place in Israel is safe.

“What worries us is the laxity and weakness of the Israeli government on the northern front,” he told Israeli radio news.

Nasrallah threatened during his speech to target all parts of Israel and said Hezbollah had obtained “new weapons that will be seen in action.”

He added: “We have prepared ourselves for the most challenging times. There is an unprecedented human power in the resistance, as we have far exceeded 100,000 members.

“There will be no place in Israel safe from our drones and missiles. The enemy knows very well that we have prepared ourselves for the most difficult days and the enemy knows what it will face. If war is imposed, the resistance will fight without constraints, rules or limits.”

He warned the Cypriot government that “opening its airports and bases to the enemy to target Lebanon means it has become part of the war.”

This threat to Cyprus caused concern in Lebanon and prompted criticism of Hezbollah for its unilateral declaration of war and threats against countries considered friendly.

Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry said: “Lebanese-Cypriot relations are built on a rich history of diplomatic cooperation … bilateral communication and consultations are ongoing at the highest levels between the two countries.”

Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, during a call to his Cypriot counterpart, Constantinos Kombos, expressed “Lebanon’s constant reliance on the positive role that Cyprus plays in supporting regional stability.”

The Cypriot minister affirmed that his country “hopes to be part of the solution and not the problem,” adding that “Cyprus doesn’t want to be involved in the ongoing war in the region in any way.”

In a message posted on social media platform X, the former leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, Walid Jumblatt, wrote: “Cyprus has been a refuge for Lebanese for decades in times of distress.”

MP Ghassan Hasbani described Nasrallah’s threat as “very dangerous” and added: “This party had previously threatened the brotherly Gulf states and isolated Lebanon. Today, it expanded that threat to include the EU through Cyprus, since it is a bloc member.”

The National Liberal Party warned that “dragging Lebanon into a full-scale war gives Israel a reason to achieve its goal and destroy the country.”

It added: “Taking Lebanon and the Lebanese to a place that the majority don’t want is considered an outside decision to hold the country hostage, which serves Iran’s doctrinal plan in the Arab region.”

It was reported on Thursday that the Cypriot embassy in Beirut had closed its doors to visa applicants. However, embassy officials said “the consulate didn’t receive on Thursday any visa applications or papers for processing, for one day only.”

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry confirmed that this had nothing to do with the comments by Nasrallah: “The decision was predetermined for administrative reasons related to raising the visa fee and the embassy’s work will resume on Friday.”

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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