Israeli drone bombs vehicle 45 kms deep inside Lebanon


An Israeli drone struck Saturday a pickup truck deep in Lebanese territory, official media in Lebanon said, after weeks of skirmishes mainly limited to border areas since the Israel-Hamas war began.

Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA) said "an enemy drone targeted a pickup truck" on a farmland in the Zahrani area on Lebanon's coast, some 45 kilometers from the Israeli border, without reporting any casualties. Media reports said the pickup was targeted in a banana grove and that the driver escaped unharmed.

Israel's army meanwhile said that a drone had bombed a "launchpad" from which missiles were fired at an Israeli drone overnight, in possible reference to the Zahrani truck incident.

A statement issued by banana farmers in the South meanwhile denied that the strike hit a military target, noting that the pickup was for transporting banana and decrying that the attack "will negatively affect agricultural activities in the area."

The frontier between Lebanon and Israel has seen daily exchanges of fire, mainly between Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel, since October 7 when attacks on Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas sparked war.

Saturday's was the deepest Israeli strike on Lebanese territory since the latest hostilities began. It also came hours before Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was due to make a televised address at 3:00 pm (1300 GMT).

The Lebanese Army prevented journalists from approaching the area, which is near the Zahrani power plant, one of Lebanon's ailing energy facilities.

The NNA reported Israeli attacks on areas near the border on Saturday, while an AFP correspondent in northern Israel reported apparent incoming rocket fire after air raid sirens sounded.

Hezbollah said it carried out two cross-border attacks on Israeli troops on Saturday, claiming they caused casualties.

At least 90 people have been killed on the Lebanese side in cross-border skirmishes since last month, according to an AFP tally, most of them Hezbollah combatants.

Six soldiers and two civilians have been killed on the Israeli side.

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