Two Lebanese civilians were killed in Israeli shelling of the southern village of Shebaa on Saturday, its mayor told AFP, the latest casualties of cross-border tensions over Israel’s war with Hamas.
The Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah and Palestinian factions in Lebanon have exchanged cross-border fire with the Israeli army since a shock October 7 attack by Hamas killed more than 1,300 people in Israel.
The Palestinian gunmen also seized an estimated 150 hostages while Israel’s retaliatory air and artillery bombardment has killed more than 2,200 people in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
“A man and his wife have been killed in their home by Israeli shelling,” mayor Mohammad Saab told AFP, adding they were both in their forties.
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An AFP correspondent near Shebaa earlier reported heavy shelling in the area.
Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions in Lebanon on a near-daily basis since Sunday, although the tit-for-tat attacks have so far remained limited.
Earlier Saturday, Hezbollah said it shelled Israeli positions in the contested Shebaa Farms district of the border “with guided missiles and mortar shells” and later said it had again launched strikes in the same area.
The Israeli military said it retaliated by “striking the origin of the launches,” after earlier saying they had killed several “terrorists” trying to cross the border.
Lebanon said on Saturday that Israel was behind the cross-border fire that killed a Reuters journalist and wounded six others the previous day.
Israel’s military said it was looking into the circumstances of the deadly strike, which also wounded journalists from AFP, Reuters and Al Jazeera.
Commenting on the Friday attack, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which acts as a buffer between Lebanon and Israel, said that Israel struck a position near the village of Alma al-Shaab, where the group of journalists were located.
Its peacekeepers also reported “gunfire and explosions afterwards”.
“Based on what UNIFIL was able to observe, at this stage, we cannot say with certainty how a group of journalists who were covering the events were hit,” the statement said.
On Monday, Hezbollah said Israeli strikes had killed three of its members after Palestinian militants tried to infiltrate into Israel from Lebanon.