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At least two air strikes hit southern Lebanon, witnesses say

smoke rises near the town of ghaziyeh
Smoke rises from a site hit by an airstrike after, what Lebanon's state media said, was a series of Israeli strikes, near the town of Ghaziyeh

At least two air strikes hit an area near the coastal Lebanese town of Ghaziyeh on Monday, witnesses said, after the Israeli military said it had struck weapons depots near the port city of Sidon.

The witnesses heard several loud booms and saw two thick black columns of smoke rising from around Ghaziyeh, which lies just south of Sidon and about 60 km (37 miles) north of the border with Israel.

Lebanese state media said the strikes were Israeli and that a car had been hit.

Lebanese security sources said the air strikes hit factories and warehouses in an industrial area south of Sidon but it was unclear what was targeted. One of the sources said at least 14 people had been hurt, most of them Syrian workers.

Israeli’s chief military spokesperson said the air strikes on weapons depots near Sidon were carried out in response to a drone launched into Israel by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Israel has been carrying out air strikes along the border area in south Lebanon against the armed group Hezbollah, which has fired rockets across the frontier. Israel has carried out strikes only rarely further north of the frontier zone.

More than 170 Hezbollah fighters and nearly three dozen civilians have been killed in Israeli strikes on Lebanon since Hezbollah launched rockets onto Israel in support of its Palestinian ally Hamas, according to Hezbollah’s announced figures and a Reuters count of civilian deaths .

Hamas fighters launched an attack on Israel on Oct. 7 in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 taken hostage into the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli figures. Israel’s air, land and sea bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 28,000 people since then, Palestinian health officials say.

Last week, two sets of Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon killed 10 civilians and several Hezbollah fighters, including a commander in the group’s elite Radwan force.

Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Israel would pay “in blood” for the killings of civilians.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Lebanon would “pay a heavy price” if diplomatic means failed to remove Hezbollah from the border zone.

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