Israel assassinates top Hezbollah commander in Lebanon airstrike after IDF warned of ‘another war’ amid growing fears of conflict engulfing the Middle East

This picture released by Hezbollah Military Media shows senior Hezbollah commander Wissam Tawil who was killed in, South Lebanon, on Monday, Jan 8, 2024
Published January 8, 2024
  • Increase in cross-border fighting comes after Hamas deputy was killed in Beirut

An Israeli strike on south Lebanon today killed a senior commander in Hezbollah’s elite Radwan force, escalating fears that the conflict between Israel and Hamas could trigger the spread of more violence across the region.

Wissam Hassan Tawil, the deputy head of a unit within the Radwan force, died alongside another Hezbollah fighter when their car, a Honda SUV, was targeted in a strike on the Lebanese village of Majdal Selm.

Hezbollah confirmed the killing this afternoon, saying he died ‘on the road to Jerusalem’ – the phrase used for fighters killed by Israel, with Lebanese security sources describing the attack as ‘a very painful strike’ that will cause a ‘flare-up’.

The Israeli military did not immediately comment on the attack, simply stating its fighter jets were targeting Hezbollah infrastructure in southern Lebanon.

It comes as Israel warned ‘another war’ may break out in the embattled Middle East after Hezbollah struck an Israeli air traffic control base in the heaviest day of cross-border fighting since fresh hostilities erupted after October 7.

The attack on the base on Mount Meron on Saturday was one of several rocket barrages of northern Israel by the Iran-backed Hezbollah, forcing tens of thousands of Israelis to evacuate communities along the border.

This latest eruption of more intense hostilities follows another IDF strike on the Lebanese capital of Beirut last week which killed Hamas‘ deputy political leader, Saleh al-Arouri.

In the wake of that attack, Hezbollah’s secretary-general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel in two televised addresses not to launch a full-scale war on Lebanon. ‘Whoever thinks of war with us – in one word, he will regret it,’ Nasrallah said.



RELATED: Gallant warns: If Hezbollah isn’t deterred, Israel can ‘copy-paste’ Gaza war to Beirut

Amid US deescalation efforts, defense minister tells WSJ the fight against Hamas must serve to dissuade other Iran-backed proxies in the region from launching their own attacks

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant addresses soldiers from the elite Sayeret Matkal unit of the IDF, October 24, 2023. (Ariel Hermon, Israel Defense Ministry)
Published January 7, 2024

Israel isn’t afraid to go to war with the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon if push comes to shove, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told the Wall Street Journal in an interview on Sunday.

Defending the need for Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, Gallant explained that among other purposes, it will serve to warn Iran and its proxies away from launching similar attacks in the future.

“My basic view: We are fighting an axis, not a single enemy,” he said. “Iran is building up military power around Israel in order to use it.”

While Tehran has claimed that Hamas acted independently on October 7, when members of the terror group slaughtered some 1,200 people in southern Israel and seized around 240 hostages, it has publicly praised the deadly onslaught. The IDF said on Sunday that it had uncovered equipment being used by Hamas to develop precision-guided missiles under Iranian tutelage.

At the same time as Israel fights Hamas on its southern border, it has been battling Hezbollah on the northern border, albeit in a much more limited way.



RELATED: Hezbollah fires rockets at Israel in response to killing of top Hamas leader

Published January 6, 2024

Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets from Lebanon into northern Israel on Saturday, warning that the barrage was its initial response to the targeted killing, presumably by Israel, of a top Hamas leader in Lebanon’s capital earlier this week.

The rocket attack came a day after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said his group must retaliate for the killing of Saleh Arouri, the deputy political leader of the militia’s ally Hamas, in a Hezbollah stronghold south of Beirut. He said if Hezbollah did not strike back, all of Lebanon would be vulnerable to Israeli attack. He appeared to be making his case for a response to the Lebanese public, even at the risk of escalating the fighting between Hezbollah and Israel as the war between Israel and Hamas rages on.

Hezbollah said it launched 62 rockets toward an Israeli air surveillance base on Mount Meron and that it scored direct hits. It said rockets also struck two army posts near the border. The Israeli military said about 40 rockets were fired toward Meron and that a base was targeted, but made no mention of the base being hit. It said it struck the Hezbollah cell that fired the rockets.

Israeli airstrikes on southern Lebanon hit the outskirts of Kouthariyeh al-Siyad village, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the border, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said, adding that there were casualties. Such strikes deeper inside Lebanon have been rare since the border fighting started nearly three months ago. NNA also said Israeli forces shelled border areas including the town of Khiam. Israel’s army had no immediate comment.





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