July 1, 2024 | FDD's Long War Journal

Hezbollah drone attack injures 18 IDF soldiers

July 1, 2024 | FDD's Long War Journal

Hezbollah drone attack injures 18 IDF soldiers

Hezbollah carried out a kamikaze drone attack on June 30 targeting Israeli forces in the northern Golan Heights, severely injuring one IDF soldier and lightly injuring 17 other soldiers. It is the latest drone attack carried out by Hezbollah after four days of escalation by the Iranian-backed group. The IDF said that the wounded soldiers were evacuated to receive medical treatment, and Israeli aircraft responded to the attack with airstrikes.

“Over the past few hours, the Israeli Air Force struck Hezbollah terror targets in southern Lebanon, including a Hezbollah observation post in the area of Markaba and a launcher in the area of Ayta ash Shab from which a projectile was fired today toward northern Israel,” the IDF said on the evening of June 30.

Israeli artillery also responded, targeting Hezbollah sites in southern Lebanon. The IDF often responds proportionately with air strikes and artillery to Hezbollah attacks. Hezbollah has carried out more than 5,000 rocket, drone, and missile attacks on Israel since October 7, 2023, when it chose to support Hamas.

Hezbollah claimed that its attacks targeted the headquarters of the IDF’s 91st Division, according to a statement from Hezbollah published at the group’s Al-Manar media and on Iranian state media. The Iranian-backed terrorist group claimed it used a Burkan missile, a short-range munition with a large warhead that Hezbollah has increasingly employed over the last eight months.

It is not the first time Hezbollah has targeted the 91st Division, the IDF unit responsible for the northern Israeli border with Lebanon. Hezbollah has hit the same location and unit numerous times. Hezbollah also claimed it used a Falaq missile to strike an IDF post near Beit Hillel in the Huleh Valley near Kiryat Shmona.

Hezbollah attacks set off alarms throughout the day in northern Israeli communities. The IDF later categorized some of the alarms as false, which is also a common occurrence.

However, another group of sirens in the afternoon in northern Israel were the result of drone attacks. “Following the sirens that sounded in the area of Merom Golan in northern Israel at 16:08, a number of suspicious aerial targets were identified crossing from Lebanon into Israel territory. An explosive UAV was identified falling in the area,” the IDF said.

The IDF also targeted a terrorist operating in southern Lebanon’s Kfarkela. “Shortly afterward, the forces struck the structure in which the terrorist was operating,” the IDF said. It was unclear if the terrorist was eliminated or only the structure. Hezbollah has lost more than 300 personnel in clashes with Israel since October 7.

The drone attacks on June 30 follow several days of Hezbollah escalation in the north. The group has entered into a routine of escalation followed by de-escalation over the last several weeks of June. On June 27, Hezbollah fired a large rocket barrage just before sunset, and footage showed more than a dozen Israeli interceptions. On June 28, Hezbollah launched another 25 rockets toward areas in northern Israel. In response to both days’ attacks, the Israeli Air Force struck Hezbollah sites near Zibqin, Khiam, Houla, Taybeh, Rab El Thalathine, Markaba, Ayta ash Shab, and Odaisseh between June 27 and June 30.

Reporting from Israel, Seth J. Frantzman is an adjunct fellow at FDD and a contributor to FDD’s Long War Journal. He is the acting news editor and senior Middle East correspondent and analyst at The Jerusalem Post. 

Issues:

Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Israel Israel at War Military and Political Power