BEIRUT: An Israeli strike killed a local Hezbollah commander in south Lebanon on Tuesday, the Israeli army and a source close to the movement said.Tuesday’s strike came with regional tensions high after Iran launched missile and drone attacks on Israel over the weekend in retaliation for a deadly Israeli strike on Tehran’s consulate in Damascus.

The Israeli military said its “aircraft struck and eliminated Ismail Yusef Baz, the commander of Hezbollah’s coastal sector”, adding he was killed in the Ain Baal area.

The official National News Agency reported one dead in an Israeli strike on a car in Ain Baal, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the border, later saying “enemy warplanes” struck two cars in Shehabiya, about 10 kilometres from Ain Baal, reporting casualties.

Hezbollah announced in a statement that Baz had been killed, without mentioning his rank or role. But a source close to the group said that “the field commander in charge of the Naqura region” had been killed “in an Israeli strike”.

Hezbollah said it launched Katyusha rockets on a base in northern Israel’s Beit Hillel “in response to the Israeli enemy’s attacks” on Lebanese villages, “the latest of which was in Ain Baal”.

Hezbollah claimed an attack on Beit Hillel using explosive drones, with local Israeli authorities saying three people were wounded. The Israeli military said “two armed” drones entered from Lebanon and exploded near Beit Hillel.

Hezbollah had said its fighters launched an “air attack with suicide drones in two phases... striking the Iron Dome (air defence system) platforms and their crew” in the area.

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2024

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