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Hezbollah vows Israeli attack on journalists 'won't go unanswered'

Israeli soldiers stand near a self-propelled artillery vehicle on the outskirts of Kiryat Shmona near the border between the 1948 Israeli-occupied territories and Lebanon on July 6, 2023. (File photo by AFP)

The Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has strongly condemned the recent fatal Israeli attack against a journalist team near the border between the Arab country and the 1948 Israeli-occupied territories, stating that the regime’s killing of civilians and threats to Lebanon’s security will not go unanswered.

“We vehemently denounce the occupying Israeli regime’s new crime against a journalist team of seven people covering news... near the Israeli enemy’s al-Abad site, outside the town of Hula, which resulted in the martyrdom of a civilian,” Hezbollah said in a statement on Friday.

“This act of aggression comes in line with the occupiers’ assaults on members of the press in Lebanon and Palestine, and are meant to prevent exposition of truth to the international community,” it added.

The movement then called on all media institutions and humanitarian organizations to condemn such crimes.

“We reiterate that the killing of civilians and threats to Lebanon's security will not go unpunished,” Hezbollah pointed out.

The Lebanese army in a statement on Friday blamed Israel for killing a member of a journalist team covering cross-border tensions in the country's south, as the war rages further south between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian resistance fighters.

Earlier, peacekeepers with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said in a statement that one person had been killed after civilians were caught in cross-border fire in Lebanon's south.

Lebanese armed forces asked them for help "for seven individuals stranded near" the border during "a significant exchange of fire", UNIFIL, said in its statement. A spokesperson confirmed they were all civilians.

“Tragically, one person lost his life during this incident and the others were successfully rescued,” UNIFIL said. 

Lebanon's official National News Agency (NNA) had earlier said that Israeli forces had “cornered” a group of civilians, including journalists, “close to the town of Hula, and opened fire nearby... to keep them from leaving.”

The civilians were “trapped by the gunfire,” it added, before saying armed forces had managed to rescue them in a separate statement.

Back on October 13, a Reuters journalist was killed and six others were wounded in indiscriminate artillery shelling by Israeli forces in southern Lebanon.

Israel military orders evacuation of northern city after Lebanon clashes

Meanwhile, the Israeli military announced plans to evacuate the northern city of Kiryat Shmona on Friday, after days of clashes with Hezbollah fighters along the border with Lebanon.

“A short while ago, the Northern Command informed the mayor of the city of the decision," the military said in a statement on Friday. 

Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions have traded cross-border fire with Israel for days amid the latter's deadly bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip, which followed Operation al-Aqsa Storm of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement on October 7.

The unprecedented Palestinian operation, according to resistance groups, came in response to months-long desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque and increased Israeli violence against Palestinians. The Israeli forces and settlers killed more than 200 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since the start of 2023. 

At least 4,137 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed across the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments, according to figures from the health ministry in the besieged coastal strip. Nearly 13,500 individuals have also been injured. 

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