Israel assassinated high-ranking Hezbollah commander

SEMAFOR:  Israeli air strikes killed the head of Hezbollah’s eastern command, Hassan Hossein Salami, in southern Lebanon, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said Monday. The Lebanese news outlet Al-Akhbar reported that Hezbollah had confirmed Salami’s death. The IDF said that Salami had ordered several attacks on northern Israel on both civilian and military targets.

The killing of Salami came the same day as Israel’s air force struck targets linked to the militant group Hezbollah deeper inside Lebanon than any Israeli attacks in recent years.

At least two people were killed on Monday in three Israeli air strikes close to a Hezbollah stronghold in eastern Lebanon, Reuters reported. The Israeli army confirmed the attacks, saying that they came “in response to the launch of a surface-to-air missile” that struck an Israeli drone earlier on Monday in southern Lebanon.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Sunday that Israel was “planning to increase the firepower against Hezbollah,” vowing to continue hitting Hezbollah even if a temporary truce was implemented in Gaza. Israeli and Hezbollah troops have been exchanging fire regularly across the border between the two countries since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, leaving more than 200 people dead, largely Hezbollah fighters but also civilians on both sides.

According to U.S. officials, Israel, the U.S. and several Middle Eastern countries have come to an “understanding” on the terms of a Gaza ceasefire, but it remains unclear if Hamas will agree to its conditions. The terms of the framework are reported to include requirements for Hamas to release Israeli hostages held in Gaza in exchange for a truce lasting several weeks as well as the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

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