Hezbollah Says a Commander Was Killed in a Strike in Southern Lebanon

Hezbollah said on Monday that one of its commanders was killed in a strike in southern Lebanon, adding to concerns about a wider regional war as Israel battles Hamas in Gaza.

In a statement, Hezbollah identified the commander as Wissam Hassan Al-Tawil but gave few additional details. A Lebanese security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Mr. Al-Tawil was a commander in Hezbollah’s Radwan unit, which Israel says aims to infiltrate its northern border. The official said he was killed in a strike in Khirbet Selm, a village in southern Lebanon that is about nine miles from the Israeli border.

Israel did not immediately comment on the attack.

A day earlier, the Israeli military said that it had killed at least seven members of Hezbollah in strikes aimed at destroying the Radwan unit, and that it was ready to attack more of Hezbollah’s positions. The continued cross-border skirmishes have fueled concerns about a broader regional war.

The Israeli military’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Herzl Halevi, said that its forces were determined to keep pressure on Hezbollah and that if those efforts fall short, Israel was ready to fight “another war.”

“We will create a completely different reality, or we will get to another war,” he said on Sunday.

Hezbollah attacks damaged an Israeli military base on Saturday, one of the group’s biggest assaults against Israel in months of back-and-forth strikes across the border. The powerful Lebanese militia has pledged support for Hamas, which is also backed by Iran, and has engaged in small-scale attacks on Israel’s border since the war began three months ago. In recent days, it has stepped up assaults on Israel in response to the killing last week of a senior Hamas leader in Lebanon.

The rocket fire on the base, the Northern Air Control Unit on Mount Meron, left it with significant damage, according to accounts in the Israeli news media, but the facility is still operating “and has been reinforced with additional systems,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman, said on Sunday.

The clashes have added to concerns that the Israel-Hamas war could grow into a wider regional conflict. In solidarity with Hamas, the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen has attacked ships in the Red Sea and launched missiles at Israel. The United States has struck targets in Iraq, while Israel is presumed to have carried out targeted assassinations in Syria and Lebanon.

Israeli leaders have repeatedly declared in recent weeks that there are only two options for restoring calm in the conflict with Hezbollah: a diplomatic solution that would move the Radwan forces farther from the border, north of the Litani River; or, failing that, a major Israeli military offensive aimed at achieving the same goal.

Calm, they say, is a prerequisite for about 80,000 Israelis who have been evacuated from the area to be able to return to their homes. A similar number of Lebanese have fled their homes on the other side of the border.

“Hezbollah is dragging Lebanon into a totally unnecessary war,” Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesman, told reporters on Monday.

“We are now at a fork in the road,” he added. “Either Hezbollah backs off, hopefully as part of a diplomatic solution, or we will push it away.”

The Biden administration has been calling for an agreement that would move Hezbollah forces away from the border, but with little apparent progress. Although Israeli officials have said that time for a diplomatic deal is running out, analysts say that Israel is wary of significantly expanding the conflict with Hezbollah while the military is still engaged in intensive fighting in Gaza.

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