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Israel kills 4 militants crossing northern border as threat of Hezbollah war rises

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The Israeli military says it killed four militants attempting to cross Israel’s northern border from Lebanon on Sunday.

The incident comes as Israel’s tensions with Hezbollah, the Iran-backed terrorist group operating in Lebanon, continue to spike. IDF soldiers patrolling the border encountered the militant group, who immediately began firing at the Israelis.

‘During the exchanges of fire, IDF forces conducted artillery and mortar fire toward the area,’ the military said in a statement.

All four militants were killed in the exchange.

Hezbollah terrorists have launched missiles and rockets into Israel for months, showing support for Hamas amid Israel’s campaign in Gaza. Those attacks have not typically involved the infiltration of personnel across Israel’s border.

The move comes as both Israel and Hezbollah have threatened launching an all-out war. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government will not hesitate to protect Israel, and Hezbollah officials have made similar declarations following Israeli strikes on its terror cells.

Senior Biden adviser Amos Hochstein visited Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday to meet with officials in an effort to prevent Israeli-Hezbollah tensions from spilling over.

A senior Hezbollah commander said last week the terrorist organization does not want an expanded war with Israel, but attacks on Israeli targets have continued.

‘Hezbollah made a serious mistake about us in 2006, and is doing so again now. It thinks that we are weak as a spiderweb, and now sees what kind of spider we are,’ Netanyahu said while visiting soldiers at the northern border. ‘It sees here enormous power, national unity, and determination to do whatever is necessary to bring security back to the north, and I tell you that this is my policy.’

‘We naturally prefer that there be no large scale conflict, but that will not stop us,’ he added. ‘We have given Hezbollah an example of what happened to its friends in the south, and that is what will happen here in the north. We will do anything to bring back security.’

Reuters contributed to this report

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