BEIRUT, Nov 18 (Reuters) – Hezbollah and Israel traded rocket and missile fire in areas near the Lebanese-Israeli border on Saturday, officials on both sides said, in the latest flare-up of violence which the United States worries will cause conflict to spiral in the Middle East.
The Iran-backed Hezbollah said it shot down an Israeli drone near the border in the early hours of Saturday. Israel’s military said it intercepted a missile fired at an Israeli drone. Reuters could not verify either statement.
Lebanese officials said an Israeli air strike hit a building in an industrial area near the town of Nabatieh, one of the deepest Israeli strikes inside Lebanese territory since fighting began last month. The Israeli military did not immediately comment on the incident.
Lawmaker Hani Kobeissy distributed a video online of him visiting the site which he said was an aluminium supply store that had been bombed by Israel.
Hezbollah released a series of statements early on Saturday saying it had hit Israeli military sites and troops in areas along the border and caused casualties.
The violence is a spillover from Israel’s war against Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, which controls Gaza, attacked Israeli towns on Oct. 7 killing 1,200 people, according to Israel. Israel has bombarded and invaded Gaza since then, killing 12,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities.
Hezbollah has attacked Israeli troops at the Lebanese border since the latest Gaza war began and Israel has launched air and artillery strikes against southern Lebanon. More than 70 Hezbollah fighters and 10 civilians have been killed and at least 10 Israelis, most of them soldiers, have been killed.
It is the deadliest violence since the two sides fought a war in 2006. Western officials worry that its escalation risks drawing Iran and the United States further into the conflict.
(Reporting by John Davison, Beirut newsroomEditing by Tomasz Janowski)