Israel's military and Hezbollah exchange fire along the tense Lebanon-Israel border

RMEISH, Lebanon (AP) — Israeli warplanes conducted airstrikes along the border with Lebanon Saturday as the militant Hezbollah group attacked several Israeli army posts, including one that was struck with two large rockets.

The escalation came a day after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said his powerful group is already engaged in unprecedented fighting along the Lebanon-Israel border. He threatened a further escalation as Israel’s war in Gaza with Hamas, Hezbollah's ally, nears the one-month mark.

Hezbollah is prepared for all options, Nasrallah declared, “and we can resort to them at any time.”

Hezbollah said in a statement that its fighters attacked at least six Israeli posts along the border, saying “suitable rockets and weapons” were used. It added that “direct hits were scored and technical equipment was destroyed.”

The Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV network reported that Hezbollah fired Saturday two Burkan rockets, which carry heavy warheads, at an Israeli post known in Lebanon as Jal al-Allam. A Lebanese security official confirmed the report of Burkan rockets being used for the first time.

The rockets, whose name means “volcano” in Arabic, were previously used by Hezbollah and Syrian government forces to destroy the fortifications of Syrian opposition fighters.

They are one of a number of types of rockets and missiles that the heavily armed Hezbollah has in its arsenal.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV reported that fighters shot down a spy balloon that Israel’s military posted over the northern town of Misgaf Am.

On the outskirts of the village of Rmeish, in a rugged area along the border, an Israeli airstrike caused thick gray smoke. Artillery shelling could be heard from a distance.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported airstrikes around several other border villages, including Labbouneh and Hibarieh.

Israeli military spokesman Avichay Adraee posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Israeli warplanes, tanks and artillery fired toward the source of fire on the Lebanese side of the border and also targeted some Hezbollah arms depots, infrastructure and posts used by the Lebanese militant group.

Exchange of gunfire has been on the rise along the Lebanon-Israel border following the Oct. 7, attack by the Palestinian militant Hamas group that killed more than 1,400 civilians and troops in southern Israel.

Israel has since launched a wide aerial and ground attack on Gaza that has left more than 9,000 people, mostly civilians, according to Palestinian health officials.

Hezbollah started attacking Israeli positions on Oct. 8, in the disputed Chebaa Farms area along Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and within days the attacks spread to cover the whole border area.

On Saturday Hezbollah said one of its fighters was killed along the border raising the total death toll for the militant group since the fighting began to 56. Ten civilians, including a Reuters journalist, were killed as well as several Palestinian fighters.

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Mroue reported from Beirut.