Uptade UN envoy says allegations of sexual violence committed against Israeli hostages do not justify attacks on Gaza

BEIRUT: Israeli warplanes struck deep into Lebanon for a second consecutive day on Tuesday, hitting a facility belonging to Hezbollah in the Bekaa Valley and killing at least one member of the Iran-backed group, sources in Lebanon said.
The Israeli military said its fighter jets had “struck two Hezbollah military command centers” in the Baalbek area, in response to Hezbollah rocket launches toward northern Israel earlier in the day.
The violence marked an uptick of the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel which has been fought in parallel to the Gaza war and fueled fears of an all-out conflict between the heavily armed adversaries.
Hezbollah said in a statement it had fired more than 100 Katyusha rockets at 7:00 a.m. (0500 GMT), targeting several Israeli military posts, in response to Israeli shelling of the Bekaa Valley region on Monday night.
At least one civilian was killed and several others were wounded in Monday’s strikes by Israel, one of which hit the southern entrance to the city of Baalbek, about 2 km (1.2 miles) from its ancient Roman ruins, two security sources in Lebanon and the Baalbek governor, Bashir Khader, said.
The Israeli military said that in response to Monday’s rocket launches, its fighter jets had struck sites in the Baalbek area which Hezbollah used to store “significant assets used to strength its weapons arsenal.”
“A military compound in the area of Khiam and terrorist infrastructure in the area of Bint Jbeil were also struck,” the Israeli military added, referring to two towns in southern Lebanon.
The Hezbollah member was killed and several more were wounded in an airstrike in the Bekaa Valley village of Nabi Chit, said one of the Lebanese sources.

HEZBOLLAH STRONGHOLD
The targeted region is a stronghold of the Shiite Islamist group near the Lebanese-Syrian border.
The hostilities are the worst since Hezbollah and Israel fought a war in 2006. The violence has oscillated day by day, but strikes by both sides have broadly intensified over time and targeted a wider range of areas.
Much of the violence been contained to areas near the border, with notable exceptions including Israel’s first airstrike in the Bekaa Valley on Feb. 26, and a Jan. 2 Israeli drone strike in Beirut that killed a top Hamas leader.
Israeli strikes since October have killed more than 200 Hezbollah fighters and some 50 civilians in Lebanon, while attacks from Lebanon into Israel have killed a dozen Israeli soldiers and six civilians. Tens of thousands of Israelis and Lebanese have fled villages on both sides of the frontier.

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