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Hezbollah keeps up pressure on Israel days after commander's death

Smoke billows from fires ignited by Israeli shelling on the forested areas of the southern Lebanese village of Deir Mimas
— Beirut (AFP)

Hezbollah kept up retaliatory attacks on Israel Saturday, days after a strike killed one of its commanders, while a Palestinian group said one of its fighters was killed in south Lebanon.

Israel and Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, have traded near-daily cross-border fire since the Palestinian militant group's October 7 attack on Israel which triggered war in the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdallah was killed in an Israeli strike in the village of Jouaiyya on Tuesday, with the Israeli army describing him as "one of Hezbollah's most senior commanders in southern Lebanon".

On Saturday, the Iran-backed Lebanese movement said it targeted the Meron base in northern Israel with "guided missiles", and sent "attack drones" towards another Israeli base "as part of the response to the attack and assassination carried out by the enemy in Jouaiyya".

The Israeli army said "two projectiles were fired from Lebanon toward the IDF (army) Aerial Control Unit in the area of Meron in northern Israel", reporting "no injuries or damage to the unit's capabilities".

It also said "several aerial targets were identified crossing from Lebanon into Israeli territory" and striking in the Goren area. It said there were no reports of casualties but that "a fire broke out".

"Aircraft struck a Hezbollah terrorist" in south Lebanon's Aitarun area, the military said, adding that "artillery fired to remove a threat", also in the Aitarun area.

The armed wing of Palestinian militant movement Islamic Jihad later said one of its fighters had been killed in south Lebanon.

Also Saturday, two United Nations officials said they were "deeply concerned" about the recent escalation on the Israel-Lebanon border.

"The danger of miscalculation leading to a sudden and wider conflict is very real," said UN special coordinator for Lebanon Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and head of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Aroldo Lazaro.

In a joint statement, they urged "all actors to cease their fire and commit to working toward a political and diplomatic solution".

On Wednesday, top Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine vowed the group would "increase the intensity, strength, quantity and quality of our attacks", in an address at Abdallah's funeral.

A Lebanese military source said Abdallah was the "most important" Hezbollah commander to have been killed since the start of the war.

The cross-border violence has killed at least 471 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also including 91 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Israeli authorities say at least 15 Israeli soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed.