| 8 December 2023, Friday |

Israel expands evacuations as Lebanon border clashes escalate

On Sunday, Israel increased the number of villages it had planned to evacuate from its northern front with Lebanon. Since the start of the Gaza War more than two weeks ago, cross-border fighting between Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters has became more intense.

Following the implementation of a plan last week to relocate citizens from 28 border-area villages and the neighboring town of Kiryat Shmona to state-funded temporary housing, the Defense Ministry said that it was expanding the list of towns that would be evacuated.

group Hamas carried out a deadly shock attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel responded with intense air strikes on Gaza.

Hezbollah said four fighters were killed on Sunday and another died of wounds sustained earlier, raising to 24 the number of its members killed since Oct. 7, in the worst escalation in violence along the frontier since Israel and the Iran-backed group fought a war in 2006.

Lebanese security sources say 11 fighters with Palestinian groups in Lebanon, allied to Hezbollah, have been killed in the border area, alongside four civilians.

At least five Israeli soldiers and one civilian have been killed on Israel’s side of the frontier, based on Israeli military reports.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has yet to speak publicly about the escalation, but Hezbollah lawmaker Hassan Fadlallah said on Sunday the group’s leader was closely monitoring developments and directing commanders in battle.

  • Reuters