Hezbollah fires rockets at Israel after top commander killed | Hezbollah news

Muhammad Nima Nasser is the third senior commander killed in cross-border fighting since October.

Hezbollah says an Israeli strike in southern Lebanon has killed a top commander, at least the third top official in the group to be killed in nearly nine months of cross-border fighting that has fueled fears of a wider regional escalation.

The Lebanese Armed Forces said on Wednesday that Muhammad Nima Nasser, known as “Haj Abu Nameh”, had been killed. An Iran-aligned group later claimed to have fired 100 Katyusha rockets at Israeli military positions.

The group’s Telegram announcement of Nasser’s death did not provide a location, but a source previously told Al Jazeera that a commander was killed in the Hosh area of ‚Äč‚ÄčTire in southern Lebanon. A person close to the group confirmed to the AFP news agency that Nasser was killed in a tire attack.

The source said Nasser held the same rank as another top commander, Taleb Abdullah, who was killed in an Israeli strike in June. At the time, Abdullah was the highest-ranking Hezbollah military officer killed since fighting began with Israel on Oct. 8 in response to the bombing of Gaza. Following Abdullah’s killing, Hezbollah launched its largest barrage of rockets into northern Israel.

The Israeli military confirmed it had targeted Nasser, saying he was an “enemy” of Abdullah and responsible for Hezbollah’s “anti-tank and rocket attacks from southwest Lebanon.” In January, an Israeli strike also killed another top commander of the group, Wissam al-Tawil.

The latest attacks come amid infighting and accusatory rhetoric between Hezbollah and Israeli officials, which have drawn U.S., European and Arab mediators to prevent a wider territorial expansion.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in late June that Israeli forces should shift their focus to northern Israel, while far-right Israeli ministers called for a full-scale invasion of Hezbollah-held territory in Lebanon.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel was trying to prevent a wider war, but warned that its military had the ability to take “Lebanon back to the Stone Age”.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the group was prepared to fight “without any restrictions, rules and ceilings” in the event of a major Israeli attack.

For its part, Iran has warned that “all resistance fronts” will face Israel if it attacks Lebanon, referring to armed groups it supports across the region.

From Marjayoun, Lebanon, Al Jazeera Assed Baig said Hezbollah’s response to Nasser’s killing included a total of ten separate attacks.

“In fact, earlier, we heard some of those missiles and rockets coming out of southern Lebanon and we saw them hitting the occupied Golan Heights. We saw smoke rising and some of them catching fire,” he said.

Lebanon’s National News Agency reported Israeli attacks on the southern towns of Qiyam, Aida al-Shaab and Markaba following Wednesday’s killings.

“Israel is also targeting southern Lebanon, and some fear this is an escalation,” Baig said.

Calls to avoid escalating

On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prevent a “conflict” between Israel and Hezbollah.

Macron “reiterated his serious concern about the deepening of tensions between Hezbollah and Israel … and underlined the absolute need to prevent a conflict that would harm the interests of Lebanon and Israel,” the French presidential office said in a statement.

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Meanwhile, US Ambassador Amos Hochstein, who has visited Lebanon repeatedly in recent months, was also due to arrive in Paris on Wednesday to meet with Macron’s Lebanese ambassador, Jean-Yves Le Trian.

Gallant said on Wednesday that the attacks were continuing, adding that the army “will be fully prepared to take any necessary action in Lebanon or to reach an arrangement from a position of strength.”

Shortly before he spoke, Israeli warplanes bombed several villages in southern Lebanon overnight, including Yaron, Thayer Harfa and Aidaroun.

A day earlier, Hezbollah’s deputy commander, Sheik Naim Qassem, said the group would stop fighting “without any discussion” if a complete ceasefire in Gaza was reached – a position it has maintained since the start of the war.

Israeli attacks in Lebanon have killed at least 543 people, including 88 civilians, while at least 21 Israelis, including 10 civilians, have been killed in attacks by Hezbollah and other armed groups in Lebanon since the start of the war.

At least 37,953 people have been killed in Israel’s war on Gaza since October, according to Palestinian health officials. Israel launched the offensive after a Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on October 7 that killed at least 1,139 people, according to an Al Jazeera count based on Israeli figures.

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