Israel has reinforced its northernmost areas with thousands of soldiers after trading fire with Lebanese and Palestinian militants for four consecutive days.
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) shelled Hezbollah outposts Tuesday in southern Lebanon after the militant group fired two missiles at an Israeli post near the border.
Hezbollah, a Shia militant group backed by Iran, said the missiles were retaliation for the killing of three “fighters” on October 9.
The IDF also reported the firing of an anti-tank missile from Lebanon towards an Israeli military post near Arab al-Aramshe — the target of another anti-tank missile on Wednesday.
Hezbollah said it targeted the position "in a decisive retaliation to Zionist aggression on Monday" that supposedly claimed several Israeli casualties.
According to the BBC, Israeli artillery hit the launch site, but there were no reported casualties.
In response to the attack, Israel launched an airstrike on a military post belonging to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA) reported three civilians had suffered injuries with 10 houses damaged by IDF fire in the town of Marwahin. They also reported damage in the towns of Yarin and Dharya.
"We have deployed tens of thousands additional units along the northern border," IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus told reporters Wednesday.
"The message to Hezbollah is very clear. If they try to attack, we are ready and vigilant along our border," he added.
With the violence at the border entering its fourth day, gun fire between Israel and Islamic militants claimed multiple casualties on both sides.
On Monday, three Israeli soldiers died in a confrontation with militants belonging to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who attempted to enter Israel from Lebanon. Two Palestinian militants also died in the standoff.
Later that day, the IDF killed three Hezbollah militants after Israel attacked its positions in Lebanon.
On Tuesday, Hezbollah fired a guided missile at an Israeli tank, while Hamas launched a barrage of rockets into Israel.
Hezbollah initially claimed to have fired the rockets in solidarity with the Hamas attack in southern Israel.
According to the IDF, at least 15 rockets originating from Lebanon targeted the Western Galilee, setting off sirens in several towns.
However, the country’s Iron Dome air defense system intercepted four projectiles, while the rest landed in open areas, causing no damage or injuries, reported The Times of Israel.
On October 10, officials in Israel’s northern-most community of Metula urged residents to leave, fearing they could find themselves targeted if Hezbollah launched an assault against Israel.
“In light of a situational assessment and the potential for escalation here, we are beseeching you to leave,” said the town’s security team.
In response, U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered its largest aircraft carrier to move closer to Israel.
"Let me say again — to any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation, I have one word: Don't. Don't," U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement on Tuesday - seemingly reinforcing the warning.
Hezbollah claimed the U.S. maneuver "revealed the weakness of the [Israeli] military machine [...] and its need for continuous external support".
"This step will not frighten [...] resistance factions that are ready for confrontation," they said.
Both Israel and the U.S. have warned the terrorist group against opening a second front as Israel battles Hamas in Gaza.
"[The Israeli army is] prepared for any scenario," spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters.
"Hezbollah is observing what Israel is doing in Gaza, it sees the volume of the destruction. Hezbollah sees this and understands," he said.
The concerns of a second war front emerged after a former Hamas leader, Khalid Mashal, ordered Muslims to commit Jihad “on the ground” across the globe.
He called Friday, October 13 "The Friday of Al-Aqsa flood” — the day for Muslims to “show anger” toward Israel and America.
Mashal also called for Muslims to compensate “fighters” for the “destruction” they’ve caused in Israel, and to apply “political pressure” to “stop Israel’s military invasion of Gaza.”
“Funds are important but today we are asking for your blood and souls [to be sacrificed for Palestine],” he said.
Mashal became the leader of Hamas in 1987 and led the terrorist group until 2017. Since 2021, he has served as the head of their Diaspora Office.
Since Saturday, Hamas militants have bombarded Israeli towns near Gaza with thousands of rockets, prompting a declaration of war by Israel.
With the death toll in Israel surpassing 1,200 citizens and foreign nationals, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised swift retaliation against Hamas and the Gaza Strip, which the latter has controlled since 2007.
The country said a “complete siege” of the area had begun, including cutting electricity, food and fuel supplies. So far, at least 1,055 Palestinians have been killed due to Israeli bombardment of the territory.