A picture taken from the southern Lebanese village of Alma Al Shaab shows smoke rising from an Israeli outpost after a rocket attack by Hezbollah militants on April 6, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military said on Monday it killed a Hezbollah commander in an overnight air strike in Lebanon, as cross-border violence flares between Israel and the Iran-backed armed group.

Ali Ahmed Hussein of Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Forces was “eliminated” by Israeli jets in the area of Sultaniyeh in southern Lebanon, the military said in a statement, accusing him of attacks against Israeli targets in recent months.

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At least two other people were killed in the strike, according to the Israeli military, Lebanese state media and a security source.

The military said Hussein had “carried out numerous launches toward Israeli territory” from Lebanon since war broke out on October 7 between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, a Hezbollah ally.

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Hussein was a “commander of the Hezbollah terrorist organisation’s Radwan Forces in the Hujeir region,” the Israeli statement said, adding that two other Hezbollah fighters were also killed.

Hezbollah said one of its fighters, identified as Ali Ahmed Hussein and nicknamed Abbas Jaafar, had been killed, without saying where or when he died.

The Hezbollah statement did not mention his rank or position.

A Lebanese security source told AFP that “a local commander... from (Hezbollah’s) Radwan unit” was killed in the Israeli strike along with two other members of the group.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified the commander as Abbas Jaafar.

Huge damage

Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported that Israeli aircraft “raided an inhabited house” in Sultaniyeh, reporting “three martyrs and a number of wounded”.

It said the strike caused “huge damage” to nearby buildings and infrastructure and that at least 10 families were affected.

Hezbollah, which has a powerful arsenal of rockets and missiles, has exchanged regular fire with Israeli forces since its ally Hamas carried out the unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel, triggering war in the Gaza Strip.

That attack resulted in the deaths of around 1,170 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory military campaign has killed at least 33,175 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry.

The latest overnight strike on Lebanon came after the Israeli army said on Sunday it had completed “another phase of... readiness for war” on the Lebanon front.

Also Sunday, the Israeli military said its fighter jets struck a compound it said belonged to Radwan Forces “in the area of Khiam”, several kilometres (miles) north of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Israel, which has carried out increasingly deeper strikes into Lebanese territory and has targeted several Hezbollah commanders, also reported hitting other targets in south Lebanon on Sunday.

The cross-border hostilities have killed at least 363 people in Lebanon, mostly Hezbollah fighters but also including at least 70 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

The fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people in southern Lebanon and in northern Israel, where the military says 10 soldiers and eight civilians have been killed.