Israel, Hezbollah engage in brief, intense fighting
On Sunday, days after Israel attacked Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, the Iranian-backed militant group retaliated by firing anti-tank missiles into the country. Israel responded to the attack with heavy artillery fire.
Hours after the escalation, a spokesman of the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) said that “calm has returned in the area.” The mission is in contact with both parties and is calling on them to exercise restraint. Hezbollah stated on Sunday night that it “wants to preserve deterrence and the rules of engagement in order to prevent something worse from happening,” while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he “ordered that we be prepared for any scenario,” adding that “we will decide on the next steps pending developments.”
Tensions in the Middle East surged last week with Israel carrying out attacks on targets in four different countries, all of them allied with Iran. In addition to Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Israeli military also hit targets in Syria, the Palestinian-administered Gaza Strip and Iraq.