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Salvo of rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel as Cyprus responds to Hezbollah


BEIRUT — A fresh salvo of rockets was fired from Lebanon toward northern Israel on Thursday, one day after Hezbollah’s chief warned that “no place” in Israel would be spared if war began amid escalating fears of an all-out conflict.

The scope of escalation grew on Thursday with Cyprus finding itself drawn into the picture as Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened to attack the country if its territory were used by Israel in a full-blown war against Lebanon. In a phone call with his Lebanese counterpart on Thursday, Cypriot Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos reiterated his country’s position and stressed that “Cyprus has no intention of getting involved in any way in the ongoing war in the region.”

The Israeli military reported the launch of 25 rockets toward the western Galilee, saying there were no casualties. It later said another volley of 20 rockets was fired in the same area, and fell in open fields without causing any injuries.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah, which has been engaged in heavy cross-border fire with Israel since last October, said it struck the Samaqa and Ruwaisat al-Alam sites in the Israeli-occupied Kfar Shuba Hills with “appropriate weapons” and heavy machine guns. It also claimed an attack with artillery shelling on the Zabidin site in the Shebaa Farms area.

In an earlier statement, Hezbollah said it launched dozens of Katyusha rockets on the Zarit military barracks in northern Israel in response to the killing of one of its members in an Israeli strike earlier on Thursday.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency had reported the death of one person in an Israeli drone strike that hit a vehicle in the southern town of Deir Kifa on Thursday morning. Hezbollah later announced the death of Abbas Ibrahim Hamada, which it said was “martyred on the road to Jerusalem,” a phrase commonly used by the group in reference to its members killed in Israeli strikes.

The Israeli army confirmed the strike, saying it killed Hamada who was Hezbollah’s operations officer in the Jouaiyya area near Deir Kifa. The army said he planned and carried out attacks against Israel.

According to the Israeli military, at least 349 Hezbollah fighters have been killed since the start of the hostilities along the Israel-Lebanon border in the wake of the war in Gaza Oct. 8. The conflict has also killed 93 civilians on the Lebanese side of the border, per an Agence France-Presse tally, while 15 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed in Israel.

Israel, Hezbollah exchange threats of war

Tensions have soared in recent days as the two parties escalated their rhetoric. Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday threatened a wide response against Israel in the event of a full-blown war.

“The enemy [Israel] knows well that we have prepared ourselves for the worst … and that no place … will be spared our rockets,” Nasrallah said in a televised address.

Israel must “wait for us on land, by sea and by air,” he added, warning that his group will fight “without restrictions.”

Nasrallah also took aim at Cyprus, saying that Hezbollah had received information that the small Mediterranean island will allow Israel to use its bases during a potential war against the Lebanese group.

“Opening Cypriot airports and bases to the Israeli enemy to target Lebanon would mean that the Cypriot government is part of the war, and the resistance will deal with it as part of the war,” Nasrallah threatened.

 Christodoulides responded to Nasrallah’s remarks in a statement on Wednesday, saying that his country “is not part of the problem,” rather it “is part of the solution.”

For its part, the European Union expressed its full support to Cyprus.

“Any threat against one of our member states is a threat against the European Union,” Peter Stano, the European Commission’s spokesperson for external affairs, told reporters in Brussels on Thursday.

The drums of war are increasingly beating as Israeli officials are calling for a harsher response toward Hezbollah as they can no longer tolerate the repeated attacks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned earlier this month that his country is ready for an “extremely powerful” response to Hezbollah.

“We can’t accept the continuation of the situation in the north, it won’t continue,” he said.

The Israeli military announced Tuesday that it approved “operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon.”  According to a statement, the head of the army’s Northern Command and head of the Operations Directorate also approved decisions to increase “the readiness of the forces on the ground.”

Israel’s foreign minister said later on Tuesday that a war with Lebanon was coming soon.

“We are getting very close to the moment of deciding on changing the rules of the game against Hezbollah and Lebanon,” Israel Katz wrote on X.

“In an all-out war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be severely hit,” he threatened.



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