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BEIRUT: Israeli air strikes “completely destroyed” at least three houses in southern Lebanon on Friday, official news agency NNA and the mayor of the affected border community said.

The NNA reported four houses were targeted “since this morning by the Israeli air force in Kfar Kila”, a village near the Israel-Lebanon border, while three were “completely destroyed”.

A fifth home was also targeted by artillery fire, the NNA said.

Since the surprise October 7 attack by Hamas on southern Israel, there have been near daily exchanges of fire across the border between the Israeli army and the group Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas.

Israel has repeatedly bombarded border villages, with the violence killing more than 195 people in Lebanon, including at least 142 Hezbollah fighters, according to an AFP tally.

Israeli PM Netanyahu says Gaza war will last long, not close to ending

On the Israeli side, 15 people have been killed, of whom nine were soldiers and six civilians, according to the Israeli army.

The army said on Friday it had “conducted air strikes and carried out artillery and tank fire against Hezbollah observation posts and terrorist infrastructure” in the Kfar Kila sector.

“There are around 100 residents left in Kfar Kila, but by chance, when the bombings took place, the destroyed homes were empty,” the mayor of the village, Hassan Chite, told AFP.

On Friday afternoon, Hezbollah claimed three attacks, including two against “deployments of soldiers of the Israeli enemy” on the border, including using Burkan missiles, which can carry a large explosive payload.

“The Israeli enemy is not prepared for a war against what the Islamic resistance in Lebanon has in store for it,” Mohamed Raad, the head of the parliamentary bloc, said on Friday, according to the NNA.

On Wednesday, the chief of staff of the Israeli army Herzi Halevi said the probability of a war between Israel and Hezbollah “in the coming months is much higher than it was in the past”.

The same day, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said a “total confrontation” between the two would be a “complete disaster”.

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