Smoke rising on a hill shelled by Israeli forces on the outskirts of the southern Lebanese border village of Dhaira on October 11, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group said it fired missiles on Israel Wednesday drawing retaliatory Israeli fire, after three of its members were killed earlier this week amid soaring border tensions.

The exchange of fire came as Israel massed troops and heavy armour around Gaza in its retaliatory campaign against Hamas militants who killed more than 1,200 people in a bloody cross-border assault.

Hezbollah “targeted a Zionist [Israeli] position... facing Dhayra village, with guided missiles,” in a “firm response to Zionist attacks... which led to the martyrdom of a number of brothers,” the group said in a statement.

The group warned of a “decisive” response to Israeli attacks “targeting our country and the security of our people, especially when these attacks lead to the deaths of martyrs”.

The Israeli military said that “in response to the anti-tank missiles that were launched at... soldiers a short while ago, the IDF (army) is currently striking in Lebanese territory”.

Lebanon’s National News Agency reported that Israeli fire on several locations along the border had been “countered by resistance (Hezbollah) machine guns”.

An AFP correspondent in the southern town of Qlaileh heard loud blasts, likely from rocket fire.

On Monday, Hezbollah said three of its members had been killed in Israeli strikes on south Lebanon after Palestinian militants tried to slip across the border.