Hezbollah introduces new air defense missiles against warplanes

Hezbollah fired Thursday for the first time air defense missiles at Israeli warplanes that the group said were "breaking the sound barrier and terrorizing children."

Hezbollah said in a statement that its air defense missiles forced the warplanes to "retreat beyond the border."

Last month, Hezbollah struck a military post in northern Israel using a drone that fired two missiles, the first successful missile airstrike it has launched from within Israeli airspace.

The group has stepped up its attacks, striking deeper inside Israel and introducing new and more advanced weaponry. “This is a method of sending messages on the ground to the Israeli enemy, meaning that this is part of what we have, and if needed we can strike more,” said Lebanese political analyst Faisal Abdul-Sater who closely follows Hezbollah.

Hezbollah's use of more advanced weaponry, including drones capable of firing missiles, explosive drones and the small type of guided missile known as Almas, or Diamond, that was used to attack a base controlling a surveillance balloon has already raised alarms within the Israeli military.

In adapting its attacks, Hezbollah managed to reduce the numbers of fighters lost compared with the early weeks of the conflict, but Israel in response ramped up in past weeks its targeting of Hezbollah fighters and allied militants in cars and on motorbikes in south Lebanon.

While Hezbollah continues to fire Russian-made anti-tank Kornet missiles from areas close to the border, it has also shifted to firing drones and other types of rockets with heavy warheads — including Almas as well as Falaq and Burkan rockets — from areas several kilometers from the border, to reduce the numbers of fighters along the border and bring down the numbers of casualties. Israel in response struck fighters deeper inside Lebanon, including in the Tyre, Sidon and Jezzine Districts.

Israel and Hezbollah have been exchanging fire daily since a day after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which set off the war in Gaza. The deadly fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border and sparked fears of a wider regional war.

At least 15 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed in Israel's north, according to the military, since the clashes with Hezbollah began.

In Lebanon, the cross-border violence has killed at least 455 people, mostly fighters but including 88 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Source: Naharnet

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