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Gallant: Israel will keep hitting Hezbollah, independent of possible Gaza truce

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Two Hezbollah members were killed in an Israeli Air Force strike in Syria early Sunday.


Israel will continue to expand its airstrikes on Hezbollah terror targets in Lebanon, even if Jerusalem reaches a ceasefire-for-hostages deal with Hamas in Gaza, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant vowed during a visit to the military’s Northern Command headquarters in Safed on Sunday.

“In the event of a temporary truce in Gaza, we will increase the fire in the north, and will continue until the full withdrawal of Hezbollah [from the border] and the return of the residents to their homes,” Gallant said.

Attacks from the Land of the Cedars have killed six civilians and 10 IDF soldiers since Iran-backed Hezbollah Shi’ite militia joined the war in support of Hamas on Oct. 8. Some 80,000 Israelis have been displaced from their homes up to 6 miles from the border with Lebanon.

“We are planning to increase the firepower against Hezbollah, which is unable to find replacements for the commanders we are eliminating,” Gallant stated on Sunday.

He added, “The goal is simple—to push Hezbollah back to where it should be. Either by [diplomatic] agreement, or we will do it by force.”

מסיים הערכת מצב בבור פיקוד הצפון, יחד עם מפקד הפיקוד האלוף אורי גורדין.

עוצמת התקיפות שלנו נגד החיזבאללה הולכת וגוברת – שיתוף הפעולה בין אגף המודיעין לחיל האוויר מביא לחיסול של עשרות מפקדים – להם מתקשים למצוא מחליף. pic.twitter.com/gCYNHTl91M

— יואב גלנט – Yoav Gallant (@yoavgallant) February 25, 2024

Two Hezbollah members were killed in an Israeli Air Force strike in Syria early Sunday, according to the Britain-based war monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The reported missile attack on a truck occurred near the Lebanese border, in an area overlapping the governorates of Homs and the Damascus countryside.

Three people were killed in the attack on two civilian trucks west of Homs in Syria, the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese Al Mayadeen TV news channel claimed.

Hezbollah on Sunday announced the deaths of two of its members, Ahmed Muhammad al-Afi and Hussein Ali al-Dirani, both from the Beqaa area in Lebanon, who were apparently killed in the alleged Israeli strike in Syria.

استهداف شاحنة في #القصير قرب الحدود السورية – اللبنانية من طائرة استطلاع “اسرائيلية” pic.twitter.com/zRc2sTG5q6

— nbnlebanon (@nbntweets) February 25, 2024

According to the Iranian terrorist proxy, 214 of its members have been killed since the start of the current Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Israel has attacked Syrian targets 16 times since the start of this year—10 airstrikes and six rocket attacks from ground forces.

The attacks have destroyed some 34 targets, including weapons and ammunition warehouses, headquarters and vehicles. A total of 35 combatants were killed and 13 others wounded. Additionally, nine civilians were killed.

At the start of February, the IDF said that it attacked more than 50 targets belonging to Hezbollah and other Iran-backed terrorist groups in Syria since Oct. 7.

Terrorist cell eliminated, weapons storage destroyed

An Israeli air attack destroyed a Hezbollah weapons storage facility after a terrorist cell was spotted entering the structure in the area of Matmoura in Southern Lebanon on Saturday.

Following the strike secondary explosions occurred, indicating a large quantity of weapons stored there.

מוקדם יותר היום כוחות צה”ל זיהו באמצעות כלי טיס חוליית מחבלים אשר נכנסת למחסן אמצעי לחימה של ארגון הטרור חיזבאללה במרחב הכפר אל מטמורה. תוך זמן קצר מטוסי קרב תקפו את המחסן בו זוהתה החולייה. לאחר התקיפה התרחשו פיצוצי משנה משמעותיים המעידים על הימצאות אמצעי לחימה במבנה >> pic.twitter.com/HI0cCeevuF

— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) February 24, 2024

In addition, Israeli fighter jets struck an operational command center used by Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Force in the area of Baraachit in Southern Lebanon.

Furthermore, IDF artillery fired to remove a threat in the area of the village of Rachaya Al Foukhar in Lebanon.

Hezbollah fires four rockets

Hezbollah took responsibility for four rockets that were fired on Sunday morning from Lebanon at Israel’s Galilee Panhandle, hitting open areas near Moshav Margaliot.

The Iranian terrorist proxy said that it was targeting an army base. The IDF confirmed the rocket fire that triggered air-raid sirens in Kiryat Shmona and surrounding communities. There were no initial reports of injuries or damage.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a message to Hezbollah last week during a visit to troops stationed near the Lebanese border, telling the Iranian terrorist proxy that it “must understand—we will restore security.”

Hezbollah has been conducting daily cross-border attacks since joining Hamas in the war. Israel has been pounding Hezbollah targets from the air inside Lebanon and with artillery at the border.

“In the north, we have a simple goal: to return the residents [to their homes near the border with Lebanon]. In order to do that, we must restore security—and this will be achieved. We will not relent here. We will achieve this in one of two ways: Militarily—if necessary; diplomatically—if possible,” Netanyahu said, according to a government statement.

Image: Northern Command head Gen. Ori Gordin speaks with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the IDF headquarters in Safed, Feb. 25, 2024. Credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry.

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