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Two children among four dead in Lebanon strikes blamed on Israel

Smoke billows over the Lebanese village of Najjariyeh, where official media says Israel struck
— Beirut (AFP)

Strikes in Lebanon blamed on Israel killed four people Friday including two children and a local Hamas official, state media and a source close to the Palestinian group said.

Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, has traded near daily cross-border fire with Israeli forces since the Palestinian group's October 7 attack on southern Israel that sparked the war in Gaza, now in its eighth month.

The Iran-backed Lebanese movement has intensified its attacks in recent days, including using new weapons.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency said "Israeli strikes targeted Najjariyeh and Addousiyeh", two adjacent villages near the southern city of Sidon, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the Israeli border.

The Israeli military said in a statement that its air force "struck terrorist infrastructure" where Hezbollah fighters operated in the Najjariyeh area.

The "infrastructure contained several compounds used by Hezbollah's aerial defence array and posed a threat to Israeli aircraft", it added.

Hezbollah announced a fighter from Najjariyeh had died. The NNA said two Syrian children were killed in the Najjariyeh strike, identifying them as Osama and Hani al-Khaled.

The United Nations children's agency UNICEF said on X that "two children were killed in an air strike in southern Lebanon," adding: "Protection of children is an obligation under the international humanitarian law."

An AFP photographer said the strikes hit a pickup truck in Najjariyeh and an orchard.

The Israeli army statement said that "Hezbollah's aerial defence array deliberately operates from within civilian areas, thus endangering the lives of civilians in southern Lebanon".

- East Lebanon strike -

Later Friday, a source close to Hamas in Lebanon said a local official from the Palestinian militant group was killed in an Israeli strike on an eastern district near the Syrian border.

Sharhabil Sayed, a Hamas official responsible for Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley, "was killed in an Israeli strike that targeted his vehicle", the source close to the Palestinian group said, requesting anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Lebanon's civil defence agency and the NNA reported one dead in an Israeli strike on a vehicle in Majdal Anjar, around five kilometres (three miles) from the Syrian border and around 60 kilometres from Lebanon's southern border with Israel.

Hezbollah said it launched "50 Katyusha rockets" at an Israeli base in retaliation for the Najjariyeh strike, and also announced further cross-border attacks, including with more rockets.

The Israeli army said that "approximately 75 launches were identified crossing from Lebanon into Israeli territory, dozens of which were intercepted".

A spokesperson for Israel's Magen David Adom emergency medical service said that two people were wounded in northern Israel.

Hezbollah announced it had launched "attack drones" on Israeli military positions, a day after it said it had attacked an army position in the border town of Metula, wounding three soldiers.

Hezbollah said Thursday's attack was carried out with an "attack drone carrying two S5 rockets", which are normally launched from jets.

Earlier this week, Hezbollah said it had targeted an Israeli base near Tiberias, about 30 kilometres from the Lebanese border -- one of the group's deepest attacks into Israeli territory since cross-border exchanges began on October 8.

The fighting has killed at least 419 people in Lebanon, mostly militants but also including 82 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Israel says 14 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed on its side of the border.