update deskIsrael at War

IAF jets over Lebanon armed with ‘heavier bombs for more distant targets’

The defense minister's warning comes a day after a Hezbollah rocket killed one soldier and wounded eight others wounded in Safed.

An Israeli Air Force jet after an airstrike in Southern Lebanon, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, Feb. 13, 2024. Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90.
An Israeli Air Force jet after an airstrike in Southern Lebanon, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, Feb. 13, 2024. Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90.

The Israeli military has stepped up its attacks against Hezbollah by “one level out of 10” in response to Wednesday’s rocket attack, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday, warning that jets above Lebanon have been armed with “heavier bombs for more distant targets.

“We can attack not only at 20 kilometers [from the Israel-Lebanon border], but also at 50 kilometers, and in Beirut and anywhere else,” Gallant said following an emergency preparedness drill in the Galilee.

“We do not want to enter into a war, but rather are interested in reaching an agreement that will allow the safe return of residents of the north to their homes,” he added, in reference to the 80,000 Israelis displaced from their homes up to 6 miles from the border with Lebanon.

“But if there is no choice, we will act to bring [them] back and create the appropriate security for them. This should be clear to both our enemies and our friends,” warned the defense minister.

Thursday’s war simulation was held to increase “readiness to deal with various scenarios in a multi-front conflict,” including the consequences of power outages, the Israel Defense Forces stated.

The drill came a day after Hezbollah fired rockets at Safed, killing one soldier and wounding eight others.

The slain soldier was identified as Staff Sgt. Omer Sarah Benjo, 20, from Moshav Ge’a, near Ashkelon. She served in the 91st Division’s 869th Combat Intelligence Collection unit.

Israeli Air Force jets continued to strike Hezbollah terror targets in Lebanon on Thursday.

The attacks targeted rocket launching positions, military buildings and terror infrastructure in the areas of Wadi Saluki and Labbouneh, the IDF said. Other Hezbollah sites were struck in the area of Taybeh overnight.

Air raid sirens sounded in northern Israel on Thursday afternoon, warning of a hostile aircraft intrusion before the IDF Home Front Command gave the all-clear, without specifying whether an interception was executed.

Hezbollah on Thursday named three operatives killed in Israeli strikes, bringing the number of the organization’s terrorists whose death the group has acknowledged since the start of the war on Oct. 7 to 199, although the actual number is believed to be higher.

The three men were identified as Ali Muhammad al-Debes, 48, from Zebdine, Hassan Ibrahim Issa, 27, from Houmine el-Tahta and Hussein Ahmad Aqeel, 36, from Jebbayn.

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