Hezbollah Retaliates with Rockets: Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Lebanon

NAIROBI, Kenya — Tensions between Hezbollah and Israel have escalated with a rocket attack launched by Hezbollah from Lebanon into northern Israel. This attack is allegedly in retaliation for the targeted killing of a top Hamas leader in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah had previously stated that his group must retaliate for the killing of Saleh Arouri, the deputy political leader of the militia’s ally Hamas. Nasrallah argued that if Hezbollah did not strike back, all of Lebanon would be vulnerable to Israeli attack.

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for firing 62 rockets towards an Israeli air surveillance base on Mount Meron, and stated that they scored direct hits. They also reported that the rockets struck two army posts near the border. The Israeli military confirmed that about 40 rockets were fired towards Meron, but did not confirm if the base was hit. Israel retaliated by striking the Hezbollah cell responsible for the rocket attack.

Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes targeted southern Lebanon, hitting the outskirts of the village of Kouthariyeh al-Siyad and the border areas, including the town of Khiam, where casualties were reported. This is a rare occurrence as the border fighting has primarily taken place in Gaza.

The escalation of cross-border violence comes as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken begins his fourth diplomatic tour of the Middle East. Blinken seeks to de-escalate tensions and prevent a regional conflagration. He started his trip in Turkey and is scheduled to visit Greece, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the West Bank, and Egypt.

In Gaza, the death toll continues to rise, with the Health Ministry reporting 122 Palestinians killed in the past 24 hours, bringing the total casualties to 22,722 since the start of the war. The ministry states that two-thirds of those killed have been women or children, and the number of wounded has risen to 58,166.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has also visited Beirut to revive a European-Arab initiative for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Borrell plans to discuss the initiative further during his visit to Saudi Arabia.

As tensions remain high and casualties continue to mount, the international community is urging both sides to seek a ceasefire and engage in meaningful peace talks. The situation in the Middle East remains volatile and the potential for further escalation is a cause for concern.