Israel ordered the evacuation Sunday of another 14 communities in the north, close to the border with Lebanon, while intensifying its attacks against the military infrastructure of Shiite militia Hezbollah, which has also increased the launch of anti-tank missiles and rockets towards Israeli territory.
“The National Emergency Management Authority of the Ministry of Defense and the Israel Defense Forces announce the expansion of the state-funded evacuation plan to additional communities in northern Israel,” a military spokesperson reported.
The 14 communities added to the plan are: Snir, Dan, Beit Hillel, She’ar Yashuv, Hagoshrim, Liman, Matzuva, Eylon, Goren, Gornot HaGalil, Even Menachem, Sasa, Tziv’on and Ramot Naftali.
Last week, Israel ordered the evacuation of 28 communities located less than two kilometers from the border with Lebanon, which had some 20,000 inhabitants; and a few days later the city of Kyriat Shemona, 10 kilometers away and with a population of 23,000.
The border between Israel and Lebanon is experiencing its most tense moment since 2006, when Israeli troops and Hezbollah fought a war, with intense exchanges of fire for 15 days and more than 30 deaths on both sides.
In recent days, the Lebanese militia has launched dozens of anti-tank missiles, rockets and mortars towards Israeli soil, where some of its men have tried to infiltrate; to which Israel has responded with intense artillery and air attacks.
“Israeli soldiers recently identified a terrorist cell that was attempting to launch anti-tank missiles toward the Avivim area along the Lebanese border. The soldiers attacked the cell before it could carry out the attack,” a military spokesman said Sunday morning.
Last night, Israel also reported launching rockets at an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle on the border with Lebanon and responding by bombing the compound from which it was launched.
In the last 24 hours, Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for up to six attacks against Israel, which responded with intense fire, causing at least three casualties in the ranks of the Lebanese group, in one of the most tense days on that border since Israel’s parallel war began with the Islamist militias of Gaza led by Hamas.
In fact, the deputy secretary general of Hezbollah, Naeem Qassem, said Saturday in a speech during the funerals of its members that the group “will intervene in the war” if Israel begins a ground incursion into Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the group “will pay a very high price” because “it has already joined the fight.”
Three Israeli soldiers were injured Saturday, one of them seriously, by the impact of an anti-tank missile in the Baram area, while another died the day before for the same reason.
The last 15 days of escalation on the border have caused at least 38 deaths: six in Israel – five soldiers and a civilian – and at least 32 in Lebanon, including 8 civilians – among them a cameraman from the Reuters agency – 18 members of Hezbollah and 6 members of Palestinian militias. EFE