February 24, 2024

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A Hamas official survived an Israeli attack that killed two others in Lebanon News of the Israeli war on Gaza

A Hamas official survived an Israeli attack that killed two others in Lebanon  News of the Israeli war on Gaza

The drone strike hit a car 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Lebanese capital Beirut.

Security sources told Al Jazeera that an Israeli drone strike hit a car 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, killing at least two people, but a Hamas official who was the target survived the attack.

Two missiles fired by an Israeli drone hit a Hamas official's car in the coastal town of Jadra on Saturday, and two bystanders were killed in the attack, Al Jazeera's Zeina Khader reported from Beirut.

A Lebanese Civil Defense official told Agence France-Presse that the two dead were civilians.

A security source said that the Hamas official targeted in the attack was close to Saleh Al-Arouri, the deputy head of Hamas who was killed last month in a suspected Israeli raid on a Beirut suburb.

The Times of Israel daily newspaper reported that the targeted person was Basil Salah, describing him as one of the Hamas recruits in Gaza and the West Bank.

This strike is the second attack in Lebanon this week outside the border area with Israel.

“This was deep inside Lebanon, about 60 kilometers away [37 miles] Khader said: “From the border with Israel, outside the battlefield where the Israeli army and the Lebanese Hezbollah group are exchanging fire, due to the war on Gaza.”

Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging fire almost daily since October 7, when Hamas launched an attack on Israeli territory in which about 1,100 people were killed. Then the Israeli army launched a ground, air and land attack on Gaza, which led to the deaths of more than 28 thousand people.

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However, the usual exchange of fire between Hezbollah and the Israeli army was mostly limited to the border area.

There was no immediate comment from Hamas in Lebanon or from the Israeli army.

Members of the Lebanese army gather near a destroyed vehicle following what security sources said was an Israeli attack in Jadra [Aziz Taher/Reuters]

'It's no longer the front line'

Al Jazeera's Khader said this was “not the first attack” of its kind.

“On Thursday, an Israeli drone targeted a vehicle in the southern city of Nabatieh, also outside the battlefield, targeting Hezbollah members.

This has become a strategy on the part of the Israelis; “What is clear is that there is no longer a front line,” she added.

“Last January, Hamas’s second-in-command was assassinated in the heart of the Lebanese capital. The Israelis are exploiting this opportunity to target Hezbollah and Hamas officials, as well as to try to weaken Hezbollah’s capabilities in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah announced on Saturday that it had captured an Israeli Skylark drone over Lebanese airspace “in good condition.” Skylark is a small unmanned aerial vehicle typically used for surveillance.

After Saturday's attack, the group issued two statements claiming attacks on Israeli soldiers.

The statement stated that the first targeted a “gathering of Israeli enemy soldiers” on the Aita Plateau with ballistic missiles, which led to their direct injury. The second statement stated that a building in Al-Manara containing Israeli soldiers was attacked and was directly hit. Hezbollah said that this attack came “in response to the Zionist attacks on southern villages and civilian homes.”

Lebanese officials and Western diplomats said that Hezbollah has expressed openness to American diplomatic efforts to ensure calm on the border with Israel once the ceasefire in Gaza takes effect.

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