On Wednesday, Hezbollah fired “at least 215 rockets from southern Lebanon into northern Israel,” according to the Israeli army, following the elimination on Tuesday evening of a senior Hezbollah official, Taleb Sami Abdallah, and three other fighters in Jwaya. Wednesday thus saw a significant escalation of violence in the exchange of fire in southern Lebanon.

In retaliation for the Hezbollah rockets, the Israeli army claimed on Wednesday to have carried out air strikes against Hezbollah targets in Yater, Markaba and Tallouseh.

Possibility of a large-scale confrontation

Israeli media reported that the Israeli army “does not rule out the possibility of Hezbollah directing groups of drones in a large-scale confrontation against valuable targets inside Israel in response to the Jwaya operation.”

However, according to Israeli army sources quoted by the Israeli daily Haaretz, “the Israeli government has not yet decided whether to launch a large-scale military attack against Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is why it will continue to carry out assassinations and targeted attacks against its leaders.”

In response to the Jwaya attack, Hezbollah reportedly shot down an Israeli drone with a surface-to-air missile on Wednesday, according to media reports.

The pro-Iranian group also claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Zar’it barracks, positions in Malkiya, Rweissat al-Qarn (Shebaa farms), Ramtha, Rweissat al-Alam and Sammaka (Kfarchouba hills), and on a deployment of Israeli soldiers near Safad air base.

On Wednesday, Hezbollah announced the death of six of its fighters, including one previously wounded in Yaroun.

At the same time, an Israeli drone targeted a car between Blida and Aitaroun. Israeli bombardments hit several villages in southern Lebanon, including Tallouseh, Hula, Markaba, Yaroun, Maroun al-Ras, Wadi Hassan, the outskirts of Hanine, Zebqine, Yater, and Wadi Omar. Phosphorus shells were fired at Odaisseh.

The Israeli army also announced that it had targeted a military building, a missile-launching platform, and Hezbollah infrastructure in Aitaroun and Mays al-Jabal, a rocket-launching platform in Yaroun, a rocket-launching cell in Deir Aames and a house in the Kassara neighborhood in Yater.

Senior Hezb official killed in Jwaya

Taleb Sami Abdallah had been killed on Tuesday evening, along with three other fighters, in an Israeli strike targeting the village of Jwaya in the Tyre caza. Born in 1969, he was the head of the so-called “Victory Unit,” responsible for Hezbollah’s military activities in the eastern region of southern Lebanon, stretching from Bint Jbeil to the Shebaa farms.

According to a military source quoted by Agence France-Presse (AFP), he was the highest-ranking Hezb commander among those eliminated by Israel since the start of the clashes in southern Lebanon.

In a statement, the Israeli army also said, “Abdallah was the commander of the so-called ‘Victory’ unit, which led the rocket attacks on the Galilee. (…) Over the years, he planned, supervised and executed numerous terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens.”

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