Israel, Hezbollah exchange fire amid US official visit to Beirut

Palestinians gather at the site of collapsed and damaged buildings following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestine, Oct. 16, 2023. (AFP Photo)

Amid a visit by U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein to Beirut, Israel and the Lebanese group Hezbollah exchanged cross-border fire Tuesday.

An Israeli military statement said 20 rockets were fired from Lebanon at northern Israel, setting off sirens in the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights.

Israeli forces responded with artillery fire toward the sources of the rocket fire, the statement said.

Israeli Army Radio said six rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome anti-missile systems, while the rest fell into open areas.

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

Hezbollah-affiliated broadcaster Al-Manar said the group had fired rockets at Israeli military sites in the Golan Heights.

The escalation came as U.S. envoy Hochstein held talks in Beirut with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

“Restoring calm along the southern border is of utmost importance to the United States and it should be the highest priority for both Lebanon and Israel,” Hochstein said.Tension has flared along the border between Israel and Lebanon amid an intermittent exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah since the outbreak of the Gaza conflict on Oct. 7.

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