Hezbollah targets Israeli mountain base in 'largest' air attack


Lebanon's Hezbollah movement said on Sunday it launched its "largest" air operation, sending explosive drones at a mountaintop Israeli military intelligence base in the annexed Golan Heights.

It is the latest incident among escalating cross-border exchanges of fire that have triggered global alarm.

Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Hamas ally, has traded almost daily fire with Israeli forces since the Palestinian militant group's October 7 attack on Israel triggered war in the Gaza Strip.

Announcing "the largest operation" carried out by its aerial forces, Hezbollah said in a statement that its fighters sent "multiple, successive squadrons of drones to target the reconnaissance centre" on Mount Hermon.

The Israeli military said an explosive drone "fell in an open area in the Mount Hermon area" but there were "no injuries".

Attacks as well as rhetoric have escalated in recent weeks, spurring fears of an all-out conflict between Israel and Hezbollah which last went to war in 2006.

The Lebanese movement said the drone attack was part of its "response" to the killing of an operative in a strike Saturday deep into east Lebanon around 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the border.

The Mount Hermon attack targeted intelligence systems, "destroying them and starting a major fire", Hezbollah said.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant visited troops on Mount Hermon earlier on Sunday, his office said.

In two additional statements, the military said its air defences "successfully intercepted" several "aerial targets" that crossed from Lebanon after sirens sounded in the Golan Heights area.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and later annexed it in a move largely unrecognised by the international community.

The Israeli strike on Saturday killed "a key operative in Hezbollah's Aerial Defence Unit", the military has said.

Throughout Sunday, Hezbollah announced four more attacks on Israeli military sites across the border with barrages of rockets as well as some guided missiles. Israeli authorities reported four wounded.

Gallant, in a video from Mount Hermon, said that "even if there is a ceasefire" in Gaza, "we will continue fighting and doing everything necessary to bring about the desired result" in the campaign against Hezbollah.

The cross-border violence has killed at least 497 people in Lebanon, mostly fighters but also including 95 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

On the Israeli side, at least 16 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed, according to the authorities.

Tens of thousands of residents have been displaced from the border areas in both southern Lebanon and northern Israel