BEIRUT: Israeli air strikes on Friday hit an area of southern Lebanon far from the border, Lebanese official media said, with a source close to Hezbollah reporting three dead including two Syrian nationals.

The Iran-backed armed group, a Hamas ally, has traded cross-border fire with Israeli forces almost daily since the Palestinian group’s October 7 attack on southern Israel that sparked the war in Gaza, now in its eighth month.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said “Israeli strikes targeted Najjariyeh and Addousiyeh”, two adjacent villages about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the Israeli border just south of the coastal city of Sidon.

The NNA reported “victims” without elaborating.

A source close to Hezbollah told AFP that three people were killed in Najjariyeh – two Syrians and a Lebanese man.

An AFP photographer saw ambulances heading to the targeted sites, saying the strikes hit a pickup truck in Najjariyeh and an orchard.

Hezbollah – which has escalated its cross-border attacks in recent days, prompting Israeli strikes deeper into Lebanese territory – announced Friday it had launched “attack drones” on Israeli military positions.

It came a day after the powerful Lebanese group said it had attacked an army position in Metula, a border town in northern Israel, wounding three soldiers.

Hezbollah said the attack was carried out with an “attack drone carrying two S5 rockets”, which are normally launched from jets.

Also on Thursday the group announced the deaths of two of its fighters in Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon.

The NNA said they were killed when their car was targeted.

Hezbollah earlier on Thursday said it had launched dozens of Katyusha rockets at Israeli positions in the annexed Golan Heights.

Israel retaliated with overnight air raids on Lebanon’s eastern Baalbek region, a Hezbollah stronghold near the Syrian border.

Israel launches strikes on eastern Lebanon, Lebanese security sources say

Earlier this week Hezbollah said it had targeted an Israeli base near Tiberias, about 30 kilometres from the Lebanese border – one of the group’s deepest attacks into Israeli territory since clashes began on October 8.

The Wednesday strike came a day after the death of a Hezbollah member, which Israel said was a field commander, in an attack on southern Lebanon.

The cross-border fighting has killed at least 418 people in Lebanon, according to an AFP tally.

Israel says 14 soldiers and 10 civilians have been killed on its side of the border.

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