BEIRUT, June 12 — An Israeli strike on southern Lebanon killed a senior Hezbollah commander on Tuesday, the Iran-backed militant group said.

It named the commander as Sami Abdallah, also known as Abu Taleb, born in 1969, in a statement reporting his death.

A Lebanese military source said the commander was “the most important in Hezbollah to be killed up to now since the start of the war” between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza, which has fuelled violence on the Lebanon-Israel border.

The source said the strike hit the town of Jouaiyya, 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the Israeli border, and also killed three other people.

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Hezbollah later announced the death of a second fighter, with a source close to the Shiite Muslim movement identifying him as Mohammad Hussein Sabra, also known as Baqer.

Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, has traded near-daily fire with Israeli forces since the Gaza war began, triggered by Hamas’ October 7 attack.

Exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli forces have intensified over recent days, causing multiple brush fires on both sides of the border.

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On Tuesday night, Israel’s army said a barrage of “50 launches” had been fired by Hezbollah at the Golan Heights, sparking fires.

More than eight months of cross-border violence has killed at least 467 people in Lebanon, including almost 90 civilians, according to an AFP count.

Israeli authorities say at least 15 Israeli soldiers have been killed in that fighting.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced. — AFP