7 Lebanese and an Israeli killed in an exchange of fire along the Lebanon-Israel border

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An Israeli airstrike on a paramedics centre linked to a Lebanese Sunni Muslim group in south Lebanon killed seven of its members early on Wednesday and triggered a rocket attack from Lebanon that killed one person in northern Israel, officials said. The strike on the village of Hebbariye came after a day of airstrikes and rocket attacks between Israel’s military and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group along the Lebanon-Israel border, raising concerns of further escalation along the frontier that has been active for the past five months of the Israel-Hamas war.

The airstrike after midnight on Tuesday hit an office of the Islamic Emergency and Relief Corps, according to the Lebanese Ambulance Association. It was one of the deadliest single attacks since violence erupted along the border. The paramedics association listed the names of seven volunteers who were killed in the strike. It said the strike was “a flagrant violation of humanitarian work.” Hebbariye resident Ali Noureddine told The Associated Press that the seven dead were pulled out from the rubble before sunrise Wednesday.

Muheddine Qarhani, head of the Emergency and Relief Corps, told reporters at the scene that the centre that was struck was set up late last year, after the latest round of violence broke out. He said they were surprised that a paramedic group was targeted. “They were here waiting to respond to a rescue call and ended up getting hit by missiles that brought the building over their heads,” he said. The Israeli military said it struck a military building in Hebbariye and killed a member of Lebanon’s Sunni Muslim al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, or the Islamic Group, and several other militants. It said the man was involved in attacks against Israel.

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Hours later, Hezbollah said it retaliated against the airstrike by firing dozens of rockets on Wednesday morning on the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona and a military base there. Rescue services in Israel said that a 25 year-old man was killed when a direct hit sparked a fire in an industrial park in Kiryat Shmona. Footage from the scene showed thick black smoke pouring out of a building. Another person was lightly injured. Around 30 rockets were launched from Lebanon toward northern Israel, according to the Israeli military.

Nada Khleif was in her small bakery in Hebbariyeh when the strike heavily damaged her business and a nearby apartment, where two of her relatives were unharmed. “The bakery was my only means of living. It is gone now,” she said. Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group began launching rockets toward Israel one day after Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on October 7. The near-daily violence has mostly been confined to the area along the Lebanon-Israel border, and international mediators are scrambling to prevent an all-out war between Hezbollah and Israel. The fighting has killed nine civilians and 11 soldiers in Israel. Nearly 240 Hezbollah fighters and about 40 civilians have died in Lebanon.