Tensions escalated in the Middle East Thursday as Israel engaged in a conflict with Hezbollah along its northern border with Lebanon, just hours before a four-day truce with Hamas, the Washington Examiner reported.

   The Israel Defense Forces say they have deployed helicopters and fighter jets on airstrikes in retaliation against Hezbollah after the Iranian-sponsored group fired 48 Katyusha rockets at the headquarters of an Israeli infantry unit at Ein Zeitim military base about six miles south of the border.

   “IDF soldiers struck Hezbollah military infrastructure with the ‘Iron Sting’ weapon system in Lebanon,” the IDF said in a statement Thursday. “In addition, an IDF helicopter, a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle], and tanks struck a terrorist cell that launched an anti-tank missile toward the area of Biranit, and the launch post from which the missile was fired.”

   Hezbollah also aimed a guided missile at Israeli tanks near Al-Raheb.

   On Wednesday, Israel killed five top Hezbollah members at a house in Lebanon. Among the dead was Abbas Raad, the son of Mohammed Raad, head of Hezbollah’s 13-member parliamentary bloc in Beirut.

   In another attack, Hezbollah said its fighters monitored four Israeli soldiers as they took positions inside a house in the Manara Kibbutz then fired an anti-tank missile that destroyed the house and killed the soldiers. There was no comment on the claim by Israel’s military.

   Hezbollah released at least 21 statements claiming attacks on Thursday alone, making it a record in one day since the fighting began last month. The group said its fighters also struck Israeli tanks.

   Hezbollah has said that by heating up its actions on the Israel-Lebanon border, it is easing pressure on the Gaza Strip, where Israel’s crushing aerial, ground, and naval offensive has left more than 13,300 Palestinians dead and caused wide destruction in the sealed-off enclave.

   The war was triggered by an Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel that left about 1,200 people dead, most of them civilians, and resulted in about 240 hostages getting taken to Gaza.

   An agreement for a four-day cease-fire in Gaza and the release of dozens of hostages held by the militants and Palestinians imprisoned by Israel was set to take place Thursday but it was later announced in Qatar, which was a main mediator, that the truce would go into effect Friday morning.

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