Israeli forces on Sunday morning struck three terrorist cells in Lebanon attempting to fire anti-tank missiles across the border, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
An IDF drone eliminated a terror squad trying to shoot at the Zar’it area. Earlier, Israeli forces attacked a terrorist cell after it fired an anti-tank guided missile at an IDF tank in the Mount Dov area. No casualties or damage were reported.
The first terrorist cell was preparing to fire missiles towards the area of Moshav Avivim in the Upper Galilee when they were killed by an IDF strike.
The Israeli military also reported that a drone approaching from Lebanon was intercepted and that terrorists fired three anti-tank missiles towards the IDF’s Tsiporen outpost. The army responded with fire at the source of the shooting.
The IDF published documentation of the first strike.
Hezbollah reportedly targeted an Israeli communication tower at the border on Sunday, with video footage apparently showing a hit on the tower. There was no initial confirmation from the army.
The IDF made the first incident public shortly after Israel warned Hezbollah that it was “dragging Lebanon into war.” Palestinian terrorist factions and Hezbollah have been carrying out cross-border attacks every day since the Oct. 7 massacre of more than 1,400 Israelis by Hamas terrorists from Gaza.
On Friday, terrorist forces in Lebanon killed an Israeli reserve soldier in a cross-border anti-tank missile attack. In total, six Israelis, five soldiers and one civilian have been killed at the Lebanese border since Oct. 7.
“Hezbollah is playing a very, very dangerous game. They’re escalating the situation. We see more and more attacks every day,” IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said on Sunday morning in an operational update posted on the IDF’s X social media channel.
“Is the Lebanese state really willing to jeopardize what is left of Lebanese prosperity and Lebanese sovereignty for the sake of terrorists in Gaza? For the ISIS of Gaza?” he asked.
“That’s a question that the Lebanese authorities need to ask themselves and answer,” Conricus continued, warning that the state of Lebanon would be held responsible for any attacks on Israel from its territory.
More northern communities to evacuate
The IDF and the Israeli Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) announced on Sunday morning the planned evacuation of 14 additional communities near the border with Lebanon.
The 14 communities are Beit Hillel, Dan, Even Menachem, Eylon, Goren, Gornot HaGalil, Hagoshrim, Liman, Matzuva, Ramot Naftali, Sasa, She’ar Yashuv, Snir and Tziv’on.
The state will pay for the residents to stay in guest houses.
Terrorists killed as Israel preps for ground op
Sirens sounded in central and southern Israel on Sunday morning. Since Hamas started the war, terrorists have killed more than 1,400 persons in Israel and fired more than 7,000 rockets at Israeli territory, with 550 misfiring and striking in Gaza, the IDF reports.
Also on Sunday, the number of confirmed hostages from the Oct. 7 massacre held by Hamas in Gaza rose to 212, and the number of soldiers killed has risen to 307.
Two hundred corpses of civilians murdered on Oct. 7 have still not been identified, the IDF and police said.
IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari updated on Sunday that overnight a senior Hamas commander was killed by air strikes in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF also killed two terrorist operatives at the Gaza security fence on Saturday, including one belonging to Hamas’s elite Nukbha force that led the Oct. 7 massacre of border communities.
Israeli fighter jets on Saturday also struck dozens of Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, including tunnel shafts, weapons, headquarters, command centers and mosques used as war rooms.
Israeli forces also continue to be active against terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria, on Saturday night striking a “terror route” under a mosque in the Jenin refugee camp, killing Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members planning an “imminent terror attack.”
The cell was using the Al-Ansar mosque as an operations room to plan and carry out acts of terror, including an Oct. 14 attack in which a bomb exploded close to Israeli soldiers operating near the security barrier in northern Samaria, according to the IDF. No soldiers were hurt in the blast.
The daily Israel Air Force strikes come as the military prepares for a major ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, with the stated goal of eliminating Hamas’s military and governing capabilities.
IDF Ground Forces commander Maj. Gen. Tamir Yedai has met with commanders and soldiers in recent days who are readying for the Gaza operation.
“We meet during days of training and preparations: You are stronger than ever, this is a war and we will win,” said Yedai.
“Our combat soldiers and commanders, our fighting spirit, our unity and the righteousness of our cause will win this war,” he added.