Israel says it has fired at Lebanon in response to missile launches

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Shafaqna Pakistan: Israel’s military said it has fired on targets in southern Lebanon, responding to several anti-tank missiles launched towards an Israeli army base and vehicles in the north.

The military gave no further details on whether the incoming missiles had caused any damage, but said a “number of hits have been confirmed”.

Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah TV channel, al-Mayadeen, cited the militant group as saying the attack had destroyed a “military vehicle” in the northern Israel town of Avivim. The news channel added there were “deaths and injuries”, something Israel did not confirm.

Israel has been bracing for a possible attack by its long-time foe, Hezbollah, after the group’s leadership accused Israel of attempting to attack it with two drones on Sunday in southern Beirut, a stronghold of the militant organisation.

Israeli television said the army had ordered residents near the border to remain inside and for shelters to be opened.

Hezbollah’s deputy leader said this week that his forces would launch a “surprise” retaliatory strike against Israel.

“I rule out that the atmosphere is one of war, it is one of a response to an attack,” Sheikh Naim Qassem said in a TV interview on Tuesday night. “Everything will be decided at its time.”

Israel has not claimed the Beirut strikes but two western diplomats said the rare operation may have been an assassination attempt or an effort to destroy equipment for fitting advanced guidance systems to rudimentary rockets.

Neither Israel nor Hezbollah has expressed an interest in a return to war, having fought a deadly month-long conflict in 2006 that killed about 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and roughly 160 in Israel.