Israel says it killed another Hezbollah commander after back-and-forth attacks. | ET REALITY


The Israeli military said it killed a top Hezbollah commander in an airstrike Tuesday night, further raising tensions with the Iran-backed militia after a day of back-and-forth attacks and the apparent Israeli killing of another Hezbollah commander on Monday.

The Israeli military identified the commander killed Tuesday as Ali Hussein Burji, saying he led Hezbollah’s air unit in southern Lebanon and was responsible for a drone strike that morning against the headquarters of Israel’s northern command in the city of Safed. The Israeli military had previously said that the attack caused no casualties or damage.

In a statement, Hezbollah denied the Israeli military’s claims about Mr. Burji’s role and involvement in the drone attack, calling them “baseless.” He had announced Burji’s death earlier that day without providing details, and before that, he said his attack on Safed was in retaliation for the killing on Monday of Wissam Hassan al-Tawil, a senior commander of the security unit. Hezbollah’s elite Radwan.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz appeared to claim responsibility for al-Tawil’s murder in a Monday night television interview. “This is part of our war,” Katz said in response to a question about the attack on the Radwan unit. “We attacked the people of Hezbollah.”

Al-Tawil’s funeral was held on Tuesday afternoon, with a large procession of mourners carrying his coffin through Khirbet Selm, the southern Lebanon village where he was killed. A Lebanese security official said Israel carried out an attack during the meeting, killing one person.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to questions about whether the reported attack was the airstrike that killed Mr. Burji. But The New York Times was able to geolocate images of the air raid released by the military, confirming that it took place in the vicinity of the funeral in Khirbet Selm.

Hezbollah also said it fired on several areas in northern Israel, including Malkia and Yiftah, on Tuesday. The Israeli military later said it had struck launch sites for retaliatory strikes as well as a drone squadron in southern Lebanon, and that Israeli warplanes had attacked military equipment in the Kafr Kila area.

Earlier Tuesday, Israel also killed three Hezbollah members in an attack on their vehicle in the southern Lebanese city of Ghandouriyeh, according to the Lebanese security official.

Hezbollah has pledged support to Hamas and in recent days has stepped up attacks on Israel in response to the killing last week of Saleh al-Arouri, a senior Hamas leader, outside Beirut.

Israeli leaders have repeatedly stated in recent weeks that there are only two options for restoring calm in the conflict with Hezbollah: a diplomatic solution that would move Radwan’s forces further from the border; or, failing that, a major Israeli military offensive aimed at achieving the same objective.

Johnatan Reiss and Arijeta Lajka contributed with reports.

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