.Hezbollah, whose name means “Party of God" (also spelled Hizballah), is an Iran-backed Shi'a militia group based in Lebanon.
Israeli forces have launched rockets into southern Lebanon, striking Hezbollah forces after the terror group fired anti-tank missiles across the border initially hitting Israeli soldiers, officials said.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Wednesday that the Israeli army shelled the Lebanese border town of Duhaira and the surrounding area where the missile attack came from. He also said Israel was actively fighting a secondary front along Israel’s northern border with Hezbollah in Lebanon, in addition to the counteroffensive the IDF is launching in the Gaza Strip.
"We have deployed tens of thousands of additional units along the northern border," Conricus said, including infantry, special forces, armored forces, artillery, air forces, and "additional assets including intelligence and logistics."
He added, "The message to Hezbollah is very clear: ‘If they try to attack, we are ready and we are vigilant on our border.’"
Hezbollah is an Iran-backed Shi'a militia group based in Lebanon. The U.S. State Department has designated it a foreign terrorist group.
This group operates separately from Hamas, another U.S. State-designated terror group, which is based in Gaza. The Iran-backed group has endorsed the Hamas attacks on Israel, but has not officially joined the war.
🔴An anti-tank missile was launched from Lebanon toward a military post adjacent to the community of Arab Al-Aramshe on the #BlueLine.
The Lebanese militant group claimed in a statement Wednesday that the attack led to a "large number" of wounded as well as some killed troops, without specifying any numbers. Hezbollah said the attack was in response to Israeli shelling Sunday that killed three Hezbollah militants.
It also attempted to invade the border, the IDF said.
"In Southern Lebanon, Hezbollah have already fired anti-tank missiles and rockets at our positions and soldiers, fortunately without any significant casualties," Conricus said. "There has already been an attempt of Islamic jihad terrorists infiltrating into Israel. That attempt was successfully thwarted by the IDF, sadly at the cost of a senior [IDF] officer and two other soldiers. "
According to Conricus, Israel was in combat on a third front after it detected rockets being fired from Syria. He did not say whether the rockets were fired by Hezbollah, a Syrian militant group or another faction. IDF returned fire, striking where the rockets were fired, he said.
Listen in as an IDF Spokesperson LTC (res.) Jonathan Conricus provides a situational update on all fronts, as the war against Hamas continues. https://t.co/uuen9lQa0F
"The death toll is a staggering 1,200 Israelis," Conricus said. "I’ll repeat that number because it is unimaginable. 1,200 dead Israelis — the overwhelming majority of them [are] civilians."
Conricus clarified the spike in the death toll was not due to new fighting but because the IDF were able to comb through areas that Hamas invaded on Saturday, and are "discovering bodies in various communities that Hamas infiltrated and conducted their massacres."
The IDF spokesperson said there were another 2,700 wounded. He said these figures were expected to increase.