Hezbollah fires dozens of shells into Israel after elimination of Shi'ite militia commander

Abbas Ibrahim Hamza Hamadeh was responsible for planning and carrying out attacks against Israel, according to the IDF 
El humo se eleva durante el bombardeo israelí en la aldea de Khiam en el sur del Líbano, cerca de la frontera con Israel, en medio de tensiones transfronterizas mientras continúan los combates entre Israel y Hamás en la Franja de Gaza - AFP/ RABIH DAHER 
Smoke rises during Israeli shelling in the southern Lebanese village of Khiam near the border with Israel, amid cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip - AFP/ RABIH DAHER 
  1. The Israeli army acknowledges that Hamas cannot be eradicated as it is an "ideology"
  2. Only 50 Israeli hostages reportedly still alive, US says 

Clashes continue between Israel and Hezbollah as fears grow of open war with devastating consequences for both sides of the border. In northern Israel, air raid alarms have been reactivated after Hezbollah launched some 45 Katyusha rockets in response to the death of Abbas Ibrahim Hamza Hamadeh in the southern Lebanese town of Deir Kifa. 

Mapa de la zona fronteriza entre Líbano e Israel - AFP/AFP
Map of the Lebanese-Israeli border area - AFP/AFP

According to the IDF, Hamadeh was the operations commander of a regional Hezbollah unit based in the Jouaiyya area. He was also responsible for planning and carrying out attacks against Israel. 

In addition to the drone strike that eliminated this commander, the IDF announced that fighter jets destroyed a Hezbollah surface-to-air missile launcher in Rihan that posed a threat to the Area Force.  

El 20 de julio de 2024, Hezbolá dijo haber disparado decenas de cohetes contra el norte de Israel en represalia por un ataque mortal en el sur de Líbano, un día después de un discurso del líder del grupo - AFP/HASSAN FNEICH
On July 20, 2024, Hezbollah said it fired dozens of rockets into northern Israel in retaliation for a deadly attack in southern Lebanon, a day after a speech by the group's leader - AFP/HASSAN FNEICH

This comes a day after Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah threatened to intensify attacks during a televised speech and Israeli military officials approved an "operational plan" for an offensive in Lebanon.

Since 8 October, Hezbollah - backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran - has launched attacks against northern Israel on an almost daily basis, prompting thousands of citizens to evacuate their homes and seek refuge in other parts of the country. In recent weeks the situation has worsened significantly after the Lebanese militia intensified its offensive and attacked areas far from the border. 

Un soldado israelí en una casa que fue alcanzada por un cohete de Hezbolá en Kiryat Shmona, en el norte de Israel, cerca de la frontera con Líbano - AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA
An Israeli soldier at a house that was hit by a Hezbollah rocket in Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, near the Lebanese border - AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, the border clashes have resulted in the deaths of 10 civilians and 15 soldiers on the Israeli side, while Hezbollah has announced the deaths of 349 fighters. Dozens of civilians, 63 members of other terrorist groups and one Lebanese soldier have also been killed in Lebanon. 

Un cráter en el suelo de una casa que fue alcanzada por un cohete de Hezbolá en Kiryat Shmona, en el norte de Israel - AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA
A crater in the ground of a house that was hit by a Hezbollah rocket in Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel - AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA

With tensions rising on the northern border, Israel continues its military operations in the Gaza Strip. In the last few hours, the Israeli army announced the death of a commander and sniper from Hamas' elite Nukhba force, accused of involvement in the 7 October attack, in an airstrike in the Beit Hanoun area.  

Also, once again, Israel accuses terrorist groups in Gaza of using civilians as human shields after destroying a base used by Islamic Jihad to launch attacks located inside a humanitarian zone in Khan Younis. 

The Israeli army acknowledges that Hamas cannot be eradicated as it is an "ideology"

On the other hand, eight and a half months into the war, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari has acknowledged that eradicating Hamas from the Gaza Strip is an impossible mission, as "Hamas is an idea, a party".  

"It is rooted in the hearts of the people, whoever thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong," Hagari admitted in an interview with an Israeli news channel.  

Benjamin Netanyahu's government responded to these statements by recalling that "one of the objectives of the war is the destruction of Hamas's military and governmental capabilities", referring to the "absolute victory" to which the prime minister has so often referred.  

In a subsequent statement, the army clarified that the spokesman was referring to the destruction of Hamas "as an ideology and an idea", stressing the fight "with determination and persistence" to destroy Hamas' military capabilities and governmental and organisational infrastructure in Gaza. "Any other statement takes things out of context," the note concludes.  

This is the second public disagreement between the military authorities and Netanyahu's executive in the last week. A few days ago, the IDF announced an eleven-hour daily cessation of hostilities in an area in southern Gaza in order to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid, which the prime minister described as "inconceivable". 

According to figures from the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry, the death toll in the Palestinian enclave now exceeds 37,400 during these months of war.  

The Israeli army today announced the deaths of two reservists, aged 25 and 27, bringing the death toll since the ground invasion began to 314.  

Un niño palestino camina con un oso de peluche recuperado de entre los escombros de un edificio destruido tras un bombardeo israelí en Yan Yunis - AFP/EYAD BABA
A Palestinian boy walks with a teddy bear recovered from the rubble of a building destroyed by Israeli shelling in Yan Yunis - AFP/EYAD BABA

Only 50 Israeli hostages reportedly still alive, US says 

In addition to destroying Hamas infrastructure in Gaza, another of Israel's objectives with this military operation is to rescue the more than 100 hostages who have been held in Gaza since 7 October

In this regard, according to US officials based on intelligence and mediators in the hostage talks, only about 50 would still be alive almost nine months later, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Of the approximately 250 kidnapped in the Hamas-led attack, 116 remain captive, including those believed to have been killed. Israel has officially confirmed that of those 116 abductees, 43 died in captivity