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Israeli strike on Lebanon kills senior commander in elite Hezbollah unit - security sources

2 min

An Israeli strike on south Lebanon on Monday killed a senior commander in Hezbollah's elite Radwan force, three security sources told Reuters.

Wissam al-Tawil, the deputy head of a Radwan unit

An Israeli strike killed a commander of Hezbollah's elite Radwan force in south Lebanon on Monday, security sources familiar with the group's operations in Lebanon told Reuters, in one of the most high profile attacks on its senior officers in three months of hostilities with Israel.

More than 130 Hezbollah fighters including members of the Radwan force have been killed in hostilities across the Israeli-Lebanese border since Hamas attacked Israel from Gaza on Oct. 7, igniting a conflict that has rippled around the region.

Wissam al-Tawil, the deputy head of a Radwan unit, and another Hezbollah fighter were killed when the car they were in was struck in the village of Majdal Selm, some 6 km (3.7 miles)from the border, three security sources in Lebanon said.

There was no immediate comment from Israel.

Tawil was one of the most senior Hezbollah commanders killed in the hostilities so far, according to another source in Lebanon familiar with the matter.

The group circulated photographs of Tawil with Hezbollah leaders including Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Imad Mughniyeh, the group's military commander who was killed in Syria in 2008.

Another photo showed him sitting next to the late leader of the Iranian Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, who killed by a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad four years ago.

One of the security sources called Tawil's death "a very painful strike". Another said "things will flare up now."

Hezbollah says its campaign aims to support Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The hostilities between the group and Israel have largely been contained to areas near the border.

Tensions spiked higher last week when an Israeli strike killed deputy Hamas chief Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut's southern suburbs, an area controlled by Hezbollah. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its responsibility for that attack.

Hezbollah on Saturday said it had hit a key Israeli observation post with 62 rockets as a "preliminary response" to Arouri's killing.

Other members of the Radwan force killed during the hostilities include Abbas Raad, son of a leading Hezbollah politician. He was killed in an Israeli strike in November.

Hezbollah's secretary-general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel in two televised addresses last week not to launch a full-scale war on Lebanon.

"Whoever thinks of war with us - in one word, he will regret it," Nasrallah said.

On Sunday, Hezbollah deputy leader Naim Qassem said the group did not want to "initiate total war, but if Israel decides to wage total war on us then we in the field will respond with total war without hesitation and with all we have".

Nineteen Hezbollah fighters have been killed in Syria since the hostilities erupted.

The Hamas-Israel war has drawn in Iran-aligned groups across the region, with the Houthis of Yemen firing on ships in the Red Sea and launching missiles and drones at Israel, and Tehran-backed militias in Iraq attacking U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.

Reporting by Laila Bassam; Writing by Maya Gebeily; Editing by Alex Richardson

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