Israel fired 40 rockets into south Lebanon, says army

BEIRUT/JERUSALEM: The Lebanese army said Israel fired 40 rockets into southern Lebanon on Sunday after the Hezbollah movement claimed it destroyed an Israeli military vehicle across the border.

“The Israeli occupation forces targeted areas outside Maroun al-Ras, Aitaroun and Yaroun with more than 40 cluster and incendiary rockets,” the army said in a statement.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement said its fighters destroyed an Israeli military vehicle, killing and wounding those inside. Israel’s military said there were no casualties.

Israel has been on alert for a confrontation with Hezbollah for the past week after two drones crashed in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

Security officials in the region have described the target as linked to precision-guided missile projects. Any new war between Israel and Hezbollah would raise the risk of a wider conflict in the Middle East, where Iran has defied US attempts to force it to renegotiate a 2015 nuclear deal it reached with world powers.

Hezbollah chief threatens Israel after Beirut ‘drone attack’

At the same time, Israel is concerned about Tehran’s growing influence in the region through militia allies such as Hezbollah in countries such as Syria.

Hezbollah said the operation on Sunday was carried out by a unit named after two of its fighters who were killed by an Israeli air strike inside Syria last week.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said late on Saturday that field commanders were ready to respond to last week’s drone attack, which he blamed on Israel.

But like Netanyahu, Nasrallah has not indicated Hezbollah was seeking full-scale war. Amid the threats, Israel had moved reinforcements into the border region, which had been largely quiet since the two long-time enemies fought the month-long war in 2006.

Without claiming responsibility for the drone attack last week, the Israeli military published what it said were details about an extensive Iranian-sponsored campaign to provide Hezbollah with the means to produce precision-guided missiles.

Such missiles – which Hezbollah acknowledges possessing – could potentially pose a counter-balance to Israel’s overwhelming military force in any future war, with the capacity to home in on and knock out core infrastructure sites.

The army on Thursday prevents an earlier attempt to launch the drone attack

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