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More than 600,000 Gazans flee, Israel prepares for two-front war

Nature

Northern border

Lebanese Hezbollah fighters launched attacks on Israeli army posts and a northern border village on Sunday, and Israel responded with strikes in Lebanon as U.N. peacekeepers warned that the Clashes at the border intensified.

Smoke rises from an Israeli army position that was attacked by Hezbollah fighters near Alma al-Shaab, a Lebanese border village with Israel.Credit: P.A.

Sporadic shooting on the Israeli-Lebanese border over the past week has raised fears that fighting with Hamas militants in Gaza could escalate into a wider conflict.

Hezbollah’s attack on Shtula, a farming community abutting the border fence, killed one person and wounded three others, the activist group and Israeli medics said, in the worst violence on the border in a month of war in 2006 entered its second week.

Hezbollah also said it had targeted Hanita barracks in Israel with guided missiles and said it had inflicted casualties on “enemy ranks.”

An Israeli artillery shell explodes on Aita al-Shaab, a Lebanese village on the border with Israel.Credit: P.A.

The Israeli military said it carried out strikes in Lebanon in retaliation and declared an area less than 4 km from the Lebanese border closed to public access.

Three security sources confirmed to Reuters that Israeli artillery hit several areas in the south.

Hamas’ armed wing, the Al Qassam Brigades, said it fired 20 rockets from Lebanon at two Israeli settlements.

The United Nations peacekeeping force, UNIFIL, said its headquarters in southern Lebanon was hit by a rocket but no one was injured. She said she was trying to determine where the projectile came from.

“We continue to actively engage with authorities on both sides… but unfortunately, despite our efforts, military escalation continues,” he said in a statement.

Israel’s defense minister said Sunday that Israel has no interest in waging a war on its northern front and that if Hezbollah holds back, Israel will keep the situation along the border as it is.

“We have no interest in a war in the North. We don’t want to make the situation worse,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told reporters.

“If Hezbollah chooses the path of war, it will pay a very heavy price. Very heavy. But if he holds back, we will respect that and keep the situation as it is,” Gallant said.

Hezbollah has said it is ready to fight Israel and will not be swayed by calls from Arab states and foreign powers to stay away.

Sources say Hezbollah has so far designed its actions to be limited in scope, thereby avoiding a significant spillover into Lebanon while keeping Israeli forces occupied.

Reuters

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