Friday, 14 June 2024 04:44

Here’s the latest as Israel-Hamas war enters Day 252

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Israeli forces kill three Palestinians, seize weapons in West Bank raid

Israeli forces raided a town in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, killing three Palestinians and detaining several others in what the army described as an operation to pre-empt militant attacks.

The West Bank, among territories where Palestinians seek statehood, has seen a surge in violence since the outbreak of the war between Israel and the militant Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

During the raid in Qabatiya, troops surrounded a building where two gunmen were holed up, exchanging fire with them, the army said. The two Palestinians were killed and witnesses saw the body of one them being lifted out by an armoured bulldozer.

A third Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli troops elsewhere in the town, medical officials said.

There was no immediate claim of the dead men by any armed Palestinian faction. The army described the two killed in the building as "senior terrorists" without elaborating, and added that weapons were seized in the raid.

Several Palestinians were detained by troops, who also "exposed explosives planted into roads which were intended to be used to attack the forces", the army statement said.

** Hezbollah says it attacked 9 Israeli military sites with rockets, drones

Hezbollah said it had launched rockets and weaponised drones at nine Israeli military sites in a coordinated attack on Thursday, ramping up hostilities on Lebanon's southern border for the second consecutive day.

The attacks were carried out in retaliation for an Israeli strike on Tuesday that killed a senior Hezbollah field commander. A security source told Lebanon it was the largest attack waged by Hezbollah since October, when the group started exchanging fire with Israel in parallel with the Gaza war.

In the early hours of Friday, a strike on a building east of the port city of Tyr left one civilian woman dead and more than a dozen wounded, many of them children, according to two Lebanese security sources. Asked about the incident, the Israeli military said it was looking into it.

Hezbollah said in a statement earlier that it had fired volleys of Katyusha and Falaq rockets at six Israeli military locations. Its Al-Manar television reported more than 100 rockets fired at once.

Hezbollah's statement said it had also launched attack drones at the headquarters of Israel's northern command, an intelligence headquarters and a military barracks.

A security source told Reuters that involved firing at least 30 attack drones at once, making it the group's largest drone attack to date in the eight-month-old war.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel have been trading near-daily fire since the eruption of the Gaza war in October, but the last two days have seen a sharp rise following the Israeli strike that killed the Hezbollah commander.

On Wednesday, Hezbollah said it carried out at least eight attacks that day in retaliation.

Air raid sirens sounded across cities in northern Israel on Thursday and Israeli officials said about 40 rockets had been fired from Lebanon in the afternoon.

State broadcaster Kan aired footage of numerous mid-air interceptions of rockets above Israeli towns, including in Safed, some 12 km (7.5 miles) from the border.

Two people were wounded by shrapnel, Israel's national ambulance service said.

Israeli strikes have killed more than 300 Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon - more than it lost in 2006, when the sides last fought a major war, according to a Reuters tally. The number of civilians killed is around 80, the tally says. Attacks from Lebanon have killed 18 Israeli soldiers and 10 civilians, Israel says.

The exchanges of fire have also displaced tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border.

"Diplomatically or militarily, peace will be returned to our north. Israel will defend itself. There should not be any doubt about this whatsoever. This (situation) cannot be a sustained reality," Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer said.

Group of Seven leaders meeting in Italy said in a draft communique that they were very concerned by the situation on the Israel-Lebanon border.



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