Air-raid sirens blared repeatedly in the largely evacuated Upper Galilee city of Kiryat Shmona and surrounding towns on Thursday afternoon amid a heavy rocket barrage from Lebanon.
There were no injuries from the Lebanese terror rockets, which were intercepted or struck open areas, the Israel Defense Forces said, but shrapnel caused property damage in Kiryat Shmona.
The latest rocket attacks led to power outages in several cities and towns, including Kiryat Shmona, Moshav Margaliot, Kibbutz Manara and Kibbutz Misgav Am.
The attacks came as Amos Hochstein, U.S. President Joe Biden’s point man for dealing with Hezbollah, touched down in Beirut to push for a diplomatic solution to the situation on the Israel-Lebanon border, in a bid to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from expanding into a regional conflict.
During a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Hochstein stressed “the necessity of working to calm the situation in Southern Lebanon, even if it is not possible to reach a final solution agreement,” the country’s state-run National News Agency reported.
Hochstein was scheduled to meet later on Thursday with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a powerful ally of Hezbollah.
Iran-backed Hezbollah has been testing the waters in recent months, initiating a series of fire exchanges as the Jewish state fights Hamas terrorists to the south. Since Oct. 7, four Israeli civilians and nine IDF soldiers have been killed in attacks near the northern border.
Earlier on Thursday, Israeli Air Force fighter jets and IDF Artillery Corps units attacked a series of Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said. Among the targets were military compounds and lookouts.
The army also returned fire after anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon towards the northernmost Israeli town of Metula.
Hezbollah on Thursday announced the death of two of its operatives in IDF retaliatory attacks on Southern Lebanon, bringing the total number of Hezbollah terrorists killed since Oct. 7 to at least 161.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published on Sunday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that while Israel is not seeking a war with Hezbollah, “80,000 people need to be able to go back to their homes safely,” and so if all else fails, “we are willing to sacrifice.
“They see what is happening in Gaza,” Gallant warned. “They know we can copy-paste to Beirut.”