Israeli Strike in Nabatiyeh Raises Fears of Escalation in Southern Lebanon

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BEIRUT: An Israeli airstrike in the southern Lebanese city of Nabatiyeh has resulted in the death of a Hezbollah commander, two fighters, and seven civilians, according to a security source on Thursday. The attack, condemned by the Lebanese public, has raised concerns of further escalation in the region.

Eight civilians, including an infant rescued from the rubble, were wounded in the strike, causing panic among Nabatiyeh’s residents. Universities, schools, government offices, and businesses in the area were closed in response.

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, announced an urgent complaint to the UN Security Council against Israel. Mikati expressed frustration at the Israeli aggression, urging all parties to commit to de-escalation.

The targeted city of Nabatiyeh is situated north of the Litani Line, outside the area where previous hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel have occurred. Despite this, Israeli military actions have extended to the southern suburbs of Beirut.

Rescue and civil defense teams are actively searching for missing individuals under the rubble, with five confirmed deceased and several wounded individuals transported to hospitals in Nabatiyeh.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned of a strong response to Hezbollah attacks, emphasizing the readiness of the Israeli military for potential conflict. He stated that the current escalation is only a fraction of Israel’s capabilities, with the ability to strike deep into Beirut.

Hezbollah retaliated, claiming to have targeted Israeli military sites with successful hits. The exchange of fire has prompted diplomatic efforts to prevent further escalation, with the UN and various nations expressing concern.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian emphasized the seriousness of the situation in Lebanon and called for a peaceful resolution. The US State Department voiced apprehension and confirmed ongoing diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions.

Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nabil Qaouq linked the conflict to the ongoing aggression against Gaza, asserting the resistance’s commitment to counter Israeli threats. The attack in Nabatiyeh triggered widespread condemnation in Lebanon, with political leaders urging urgent international action to halt Israel’s actions and prevent a catastrophic war in the region.

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