Abbas Raad and four other Hezbollah operatives died in an Israeli airstrike in Lebanon on Wednesday, the Iran-backed terror group reported on Thursday.
Raad, the son of the head of Hezbollah’s Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc in the Lebanese parliament, Mohammed Raad, was killed near the village of Beit Yahoun in Southern Lebanon.
Israel Air Force fighter jets on Wednesday night struck Hezbollah terror infrastructure in Southern Lebanon, and troops and aircraft hit two terror cells, the Israel Defense Forces reported.
An estimated 35 rockets were fired from Lebanon at the Upper Galilee on Thursday morning, the IDF said, making it the largest barrage on northern Israel since the war started on Oct. 7.
The IDF’s aerial defense array intercepted “several” of the launches.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Col. Avichay Adraee, head of the Arab media division in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, said that “more than 20” rockets fell short inside Lebanese territory, causing damage in the villages of Rmeish, Ain Ebel and Yaroun.
Hezbollah took responsibility for the attack, saying that it fired 48 rockets at an IDF base near Safed.
There were no reports of injuries; the IDF attacked the source of the fire.
The IDF updated late Thursday afternoon that helicopters and fighter jets struck Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure and rocket launch sites in Lebanon in response to the earlier launches.
An IDF helicopter, UAV and tanks also attacked a terrorist cell that fired an anti-tank missile towards the area of Biranit and the launch post from which the missile was fired, the IDF said late Thursday afternoon.
Security forces subsequently closed several roads near Kibbutz Yiftah in the Upper Galilee due to fears of a “security incident.”
Israeli aircraft and artillery attacked an anti-tank terror squad in the Zeirat area earlier on Thursday morning, the army said.
A number of anti-tank missile and mortar launches were detected from Lebanon towards Israeli territory since Thursday morning, with the IDF responding with artillery and an IAF aircraft attacking several of the launchers. The Iron Sting laser- and GPS-guided mortar weapon was fired at another launcher.
Iron Sting was used for the first time in combat during the Gaza ground operation.
Sirens continued to sound in northern Israeli communities in the morning hours.
Overnight Wednesday, a surface-to-air missile was fired at an Israel Air Force aircraft and successfully intercepted. The missile launcher was hit by an airstrike.
Hezbollah has said it will adhere to the four-day ceasefire struck between Israel and Hamas, which is now set to begin on Friday, but only if the IDF refrains from strikes in both the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, a source inside the Iran-backed terrorist group told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.
The Shi’ite terrorist organization will respond to “any Israeli escalation” in Gaza or in Southern Lebanon, added the source.
Hezbollah was not a party to the negotiations leading up to the ceasefire, which was initially to come into effect at 10 a.m. on Thursday but was delayed until Friday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel had made no truce commitments regarding the northern border, and that Hezbollah would be judged “by its actions” rather than by anything it said.
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and deputy ambassador in Beirut on Thursday.
They reportedly discussed “Israel’s aggression in Gaza” and the responsibilities “for Palestine and the entire region.”
Amir-Abdollahian arrived in Beirut on Wednesday for his second visit since the Oct. 7 massacre.
“If this ceasefire starts tomorrow, if it does not continue …, the conditions in the region will not remain the same as before the ceasefire and the scope of the war will expand,” the minister reportedly said upon his arrival.
Amir-Abdollahian held talks on Wednesday with Ziad al-Nakhaleh, secretary general of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Khalil al-Hayya, a member of the Hamas politburo, and other officials from the two terror groups, according to reports.
The Iranian foreign minister also met on Wednesday with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati.