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Lebanon: Schoolchildren miraculously escaped Israeli strike on Hezbollah

Children riding a bus to school in southern Lebanon on Thursday morning narrowly escaped an Israeli strike targeting a Hezbollah member killed while driving his car, according to multiple accounts.

A source close to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has been engaged in cross-border firefights with Israel for more than seven months, said a member of the powerful pro-Iranian militia was killed in an Israeli drone attack targeting him.

“I was driving the bus and suddenly the car in front of us was hit,” said bus driver Ahmad Kobeisi, 57, who was taking 18 children to school. “At first we didn’t understand what was happening, and there was panic among the children,” he adds.

Wounded children

The strike took place on the road leading to the town of Nabatieh, relatively far from the border and generally free of violence. “The windshield broke (…) I drove back, and at that moment the second shell hit the car” that was walking in front of the bus, the driver continues.

According to Civil Defense, three children were injured by glass fragments and were hospitalized.

“We were walking to school, and there was an impact (…) The glass broke (…) the car in front of us was on fire,” says one of the injured schoolchildren, Mohammed Ali Nasser, 11 years old. “We put school bags on our heads” to protect ourselves, adds the boy lying on a bed at Nabatiye State Hospital with a bandaged forehead. Next to him, his aunt shows off her bloody suit.

“I was working in my field when my son-in-law called me and told me that my son was injured,” said his father Ali Nasser, who rushed to the hospital. “Fortunately it’s not too serious. We will resist on our own soil at any cost,” he assures. At the site of the impact, an AFP photographer saw a charred car and blood stains on the road.

Physics professor, Hezbollah member killed

Since the start of the Gaza Strip war between Israel and Hamas on October 7, Hezbollah has regularly carried out strikes in northern Israel in support of the Palestinian Islamist movement, its ally. The Israeli army responds by striking deeper and deeper into Lebanon and targeting Hezbollah officials.

The man killed driving a car in front of the bus was Hezbollah member Mohammed Ali Nasser Farran, according to a source close to the Islamist group. The pro-Iranian formation announced its death, but did not specify the circumstances of the death of its members. Farran also worked as a physics teacher at the school in Nabatiyeh, which announced his death.

“We have killed hundreds of Hezbollah agents,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, according to a statement from his office, adding: “We have detailed, important and even unexpected plans” for that northern front.

Seven months of cross-border violence in Lebanon have killed at least 429 people, including 278 Hezbollah fighters, and at least 82 civilians, according to AFP. On the Israeli side, the violence killed at least 14 soldiers and 11 civilians, authorities said.

In recent days, Hezbollah has stepped up its attacks on military positions in northern Israel, using drones and new weapons. He announced Thursday that he responded to the strike by firing “dozens of Katyusha rockets” late in the morning at a military base in northern Israel, a practice that has become routine.

The Israeli army reported that about thirty shells were fired from southern Lebanon, but did not report any casualties.

Source: Le Parisien

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