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    BEIRUT/JERUSALEM: Israeli forces and Hezbollah militants exchanged heavy fire across the Israel-Lebanon border throughout Saturday as hostilities intensified following the collapse of a truce in Gaza between Palestinian group Hamas and Israel.
    The Israeli military and Iranian-backed Hezbollah both said they had struck enemy targets, but despite the heavy exchanges in multiple locations along the border, only one casualty was reported.Hezbollah said one of its fighters was killed.
    Israel’s air force and artillery struck Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, the military said, after rockets were fired at a number of its outposts near the border.
    Hezbollah also said it fired rockets towards at least five Israeli positions on Saturday afternoon. Israel’s military earlier said two mortar bombs launched from Lebanon fell in open areas in Shomera, across the border from the south Lebanon village of Marwahin, but did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the later rocket launches.
    Hassan Chit, head of the municipal council in the border village of Kfarkela in south Lebanon, told Reuters that several houses were hit by Israeli shells, and there was also heavy gunfire from the Israel side of the border.
    It was not yet clear whether there were casualties because calm had only set in around 6:30 pm local time (1630 GMT) and he had not yet entered the area where homes were hit, he told Reuters.
    Shelling from Israel also hit close to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters near the coastal town of Naqoura and around the border village of Rmaych, and later around two other villages, Labbouneh and Yaroun, a UNIFIL spokesperson, said.
    The Israeli military said it carried out shelling near Naqoura after spotting “unusual activity” in the area.
    Lebanon’s state news agency said a Lebanese military site in the town of Marjayoun was damaged by Israeli shelling.
    UNIFIL also detected firing at around 11 a.m. (0900 GMT) from the area of Tayr Harfa, about a mile from the frontier, toward Israel, the spokesperson said.
    The escalation in hostilities along the border comes a day after three people in south Lebanon were killed by Israeli shelling. Hezbollah said two of the dead were its fighters.
    Following the eruption of the Hamas-Israel war on Oct 7, Hezbollah has mounted near-daily rocket attacks on Israeli positions at the frontier, while Israel waged air and artillery strikes in south Lebanon. But the border was largely calm during the week-long truce in the Gaza war.
    It has been the worst fighting since the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, a Hamas ally.
    Just over 100 people in Lebanon have been killed during the hostilities, 83 of them Hezbollah fighters. Tens of thousands of people have fled from both sides of the border.





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