Israel stages rare strikes in Lebanon, also hits Gaza
Israel launched rare strikes in southern Lebanon early Friday and pressed on with bombing targets in the Gaza Strip, marking a widening escalation in the region following violence this week at Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site.
The cross-border fighting erupted during a time of heightened religious fervor — when Jews are celebrating the Passover holiday and Muslims are marking the Ramadan holy month. In 2021, an escalation also triggered by attacks at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, spilled over into an 11-day war between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers.
Friday's strikes in southern Lebanon came a day after militants fired nearly three dozen rockets from there at Israel, wounding two people and causing some property damage. The Israeli military said it targeted installations of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, in southern Lebanon.
Associated Press correspondents in the area said several missiles fired by Israeli warplanes struck an open field in the town of Qalili near the Palestinian refugee camp of Rashidiyeh, close to the coastal southern city of Tyre, while others struck a bridge and power transformer in the nearby town of Maaliya and a farm on the outskirts of Rashidiyeh, killing several sheep. No human deaths were reported.
Israeli strikes in Lebanon risk drawing Lebanon's Hezbollah militia into the fighting, which could lead to war. The Iran-backed group, armed with thousands of rockets and missiles, holds sway over much of southern Lebanon and is viewed by Israel as a bitter foe.
The Israeli military was careful to note in its announcement about Friday's attack that it was targeting only sites linked to Palestinian militants. In recent years, Hezbollah has stayed out of other flareups related to the Al-Aqsa...