Smoke rises over Lebanon, as seen from Israel-Lebanon border in northern Israel, on November 12, 2023. Image Credit: REUTERS

JERUSALEM: Israeli forces fired artillery into southern Lebanon on Sunday after an incoming anti-tank missile wounded several Israeli civilians near the border, an army spokesman said.

The Israeli army said “a number of civilians were wounded” in the anti-tank missile strike near the village of Dovev, just half a mile (800 metres) from the frontier with Lebanon.

“Artillery is striking the origin of the launch,” a statement said.

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The Israel Electric Corporation said that the missile from Lebanon had “hit employees” who were repairing power lines downed by earlier strikes.

Since the October 7 Hamas attacks which launched Israel’s war in Gaza, Israel has also traded fire with militant groups in southern Lebanon on a near-daily basis.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s strike but the Iran-backed Shiite movement Hezbollah, as well as Hamas’s Lebanese branch, have both launched attacks into southern Israel in recent weeks.

The Israeli army also said it had struck “a terrorist cell embedded in a civilian area in Lebanon that intended to open fire toward Israeli territory”.

Overnight, a drone also hit another group in Lebanon that was attempting to launch an anti-tank missile towards Israel, the army added.

Israel has evacuated tens of thousands of residents from communities in the north since the October 7 Hamas attacks which killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to the Israeli army.

In response to the October 7 attacks, Israel has launched an offensive on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip killing more than 11,000 there, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Cross-border militant attacks from Lebanon have killed at least six Israeli soldiers and two civilians, according to the army and paramedics.

Israeli leaders have warned Hezbollah against launching a full-scale attack on Israel, saying it could suffer a similar fate to besieged Gaza if it enters the war.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in southern Lebanon in 2006.