Exchanges of fire increased on Friday in the border area between Israel and Lebanon under very high tension since the attack launched by Hamas on October 7, announced Hamas. Friday the Israeli army.
In the morning, the Israeli Ministry of Defense announced the evacuation of the town of Kyriat Shmona, most of whose 25,000 inhabitants have already left.
The international community fears a spillover of the conflict between the pro-Iranian Lebanese Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, and the Israeli army. Since October 7, the Israeli army has been on alert on its northern border to ward off a possible Hezbollah offensive.
Friday was again punctuated by exchanges of fire, small arms and artillery, along the blue line which separates Israel and Lebanon for approximately 80 kilometers, according to several successive press releases from the Israeli army.
The army reported “twenty (rocket) shots from Lebanon towards Israeli territory”, a missile shot targeting its border positions, and “small arms fire” towards its points. observation. The army responded with “artillery fire”, according to one of its press releases.
Residents evacuate the town of Kyriat Shmona, in northern Israel, near the border with Lebanon, October 19, 2023 © AFP – Jalaa MAREY
Hezbollah claimed in a press release the attack on five Israeli positions “with remote-controlled missiles and appropriate weapons”.
An AFP journalist saw a rocket fall on a hill in the Kyriat Shmona sector.
Several other exchanges of fire were noted by the Israeli army.
Shots targeted the agricultural village of Margaliot, near Kyriat Shmona, before an Israeli response, which left one dead, according to the army. Four men identified as “Hezbollah terrorists” were also targeted by Israeli aircraft in the border area with Lebanon.
Israeli snipers also “opened fire on armed men operating in the border area with Lebanon,” according to the army.
On Thursday, it reported an anti-tank rocket launcher attack from Lebanese territory to which it responded by attacking “Hezbollah infrastructure”. Israeli air raids were also launched against the area of fire.
Residents in a shelter during an alert in Kyriat Shomna, in northern Israel, the border with Lebanon, October 19, 2023 © AFP – Jalaa MAREY
At least 22 people have been killed in southern Lebanon since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, most of them fighters, but also at least four civilians, including a Reuters journalist, according to an AFP tally. .
At least three people were killed near the border on the Israeli side, according to the Israeli army.
– “Evacuate residents” –
The Kyriat Shmona evacuation operation had not started late Friday afternoon, but a large part of the residents had already left, as evidenced by the deserted streets and closed stores, journalists from the 'AFP.
Israeli soldiers in position in Kyriat Shmona, in northern Israel, on the border with Lebanon, October 16, 2023 © AFP – Jalaa MAREY
The Israeli army announced in the morning “the implementation of a plan to evacuate the inhabitants to reception houses financed by the State”.
According to the Israeli authorities, more than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel by Hamas men since October 7, the majority of civilians mowed down by bullets, burned alive or dead from mutilations on the first day of the attack by fighters of the Palestinian Islamist movement carried out from Gaza. This is an attack unprecedented in the history of Israel.
The Israeli army counted around 1,500 Hamas fighters killed in the counter-offensive which allowed it to regain control of the attacked areas.
In the Gaza Strip, more than 4,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in the incessant bombings carried out since then in retaliation, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health in Gaza.
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