2 dead as Israeli drone targets Hamas official in Jadra near Sidon

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Israeli strikes on Lebanon Saturday killed two civilians and a Hezbollah member, officials said, while security sources told AFP a senior Hamas officer had survived an assassination attempt near Sidon.

While the Israel-Lebanon violence has been largely contained to the border area, the strike on the Hamas official took place in the coastal town of Jadra, about 40 kilometers from the closest point in Israel.

The second-farthest deadly attack from the border in four months of hostilities "was a failed attempt to assassinate a senior official in the (Hamas) movement," a Palestinian security said, requesting anonymity for security concerns.

The National News Agency reported it was an Israeli drone strike.

A Lebanese security official, also requesting anonymity, identified the target as Hamas recruitment officer Bassel Saleh.

Shortly after the initial strike on Saleh's car, a second Israeli drone hit the same location, killing two people, the official said.

Hezbollah said one of its members died in the attack.

Saleh "survived but suffered burns on his back and was admitted to hospital," the Lebanese official said.

The official added Saleh is "in charge of a recruitment unit in the West Bank," occupied by Israel since 1967.

- 'Enemy drone' -

A Hamas official in Lebanon told AFP that no member of the group had been killed in the Jadra attack.

An official with the Risala scout association, which operates rescue teams and is affiliated with the Hezbollah-allied Amal Movement, told AFP that two civilians had been killed.

But Hezbollah later announced one of its members had been killed by Israeli fire. A source close to the group told AFP the man, Khalil Fares, was one of the two people killed in his town of Jadra.

There was no immediate comment from Israel.

An AFP photographer at the scene saw a damaged car and a charred motorcycle nearby, with bloodstains all over the site of the strike near the beach.

On Saturday, the NNA reported several Israeli strikes on south Lebanon villages, with Hezbollah also claiming attacks on Israeli positions across the border.

Hezbollah in a statement also said it "took control of an Israeli enemy Skylark drone."

Cross-border fire since the start of the Israel-Hamas war has killed at least 230 people in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 28 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

On the Israeli side, nine soldiers and six civilians have been killed, according to the Israeli army.

On Thursday, an Israeli drone strike seriously wounded a Hezbollah commander in southern Lebanon, with the group later firing a salvo of rockets into northern Israel.

In January, a strike widely attributed to Israel killed Hamas' deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri in Hezbollah's south Beirut stronghold -- the most high-profile Hamas figure to be killed during the war.

Comments 2
Thumb i.report 17 days

The number of Israeli spies in Lebanon is extremely troubling, not because we enjoy or support Hizbala, as we clearly do not in our majority, but because they will continue to destabilize our nation and prevent our capable people from constructing a state. Berry, the CIA's highest-ranking official after the US ambassador, undermining everything is also troublesome.

Thumb i.report 17 days

@Qawmieh ما اختلفنا they’re all spies with a foreign agenda, but we must not lose sight of the root cause of all the misery in the Middle East which is the creation of the Zionist entity. European Jews invading our land, they’ve always been pure evil . When you think about it, their not so distant ancestors were the Bolsheviks, they destroyed Russia and the current generation destroyed the Middle East.