Hezbollah names 4 militants killed in Israeli strike in Lebanon

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The Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group on Thursday named four of its members who were killed in an Israeli airstrike in southern Lebanon overnight. In a statement, Hezbollah said the deceased fighters were identified as Hussein Hadi Yazbek, Hadi Racha, Ibrahim Pahtz and Hossein Ghazala.

With the fresh fatalities, the number of Hezbollah militants killed in the ongoing skirmishes with the Israeli army since the October 2023 Hamas attack has increased to 151. Hezbollah said that most of its members were killed in Lebanon but a few in Syria as well.

In a televised address on Wednesday night, the group’s chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned to attack Israel “without restraint” if it expands attacks against Lebanon. Nasrallah remarked to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the assassination of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone attack on January 3, 2020.

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The Hezbollah leader said that the assassination of Saleh al-Arouri, Hamas’ deputy chief, and other Hamas officials in Beirut a day earlier was “a dangerous crime.” He said the current confrontation on Lebanon’s southern border has been limited, considering the priority of protecting Lebanon’s stability and security.

However, “if Israel expands its attacks … all our power will be used to attack Israel; we do not fear the war, and we are not hesitant about it; otherwise, we would have stopped fighting on the southern front”, he added.

The Lebanon-Israel border witnessed increased tension since October 8, 2023 after the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets toward Israel in support of the Hamas attacks on Israel the previous day, prompting Israel to respond by firing heavy artillery toward southeastern Lebanon.