JERUSALEM – The Israeli army on Monday announced the activation of a plan to "evacuate 28 Israeli villages on the Lebanese border" following an exchange of fire with Hezbollah.
In a press release obtained by Anadolu, the army said "the National Emergency Management Authority, affiliated with the Ministry of Defense and the Israeli army, announces the implementation of a plan to evacuate the residents of northern Israel in the area located up to two kilometers from the Lebanese border to government-funded hospitality centers."
"The plan's execution was approved by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and the heads of local authorities in the northern region were informed of the decision,” it said.
It said "the plan will be carried out by the heads of local municipalities, the Ministry of the Interior, and the National Emergency Management Authority under the Ministry of Defense."
It identified the 28 communities included in the plan as Ghajar, Dishon, Kfar Yuval, Margaliot, Metula, Avivim, Dovev, Ma'ayan Baruch, Bar'am, Manorah, Yiftah, Malkia, Mas'adeh 'Amuq, Yir'on, Dafna, Arab Al-Aramsha, Shlomi, Netu'a, Ya'ara, Shtula, Matat, Zar'it, Shomera, Beit Zait, Admet, Rosh Hanikra, Hanita, and Kfar Giladi.
For over a week, the Israeli-Lebanese border has witnessed severe tension and intermittent exchanges of fire.
On Monday, the Israeli army announced the death of one of its officers due to an anti-tank missile fired from the Lebanese border.
Last Sunday, the Lebanese Hezbollah issued a statement claiming responsibility for attacking an Israeli barracks and five military sites along the southern Lebanese border.
Ten days into the conflict with Palestinian group Hamas, Israeli bombardment and blockade of the Gaza Strip has continued, with over one million people – almost half the total population of Gaza – having been displaced.
Gaza is experiencing a dire humanitarian crisis with no electricity, while water, food, fuel and medical supplies are running out, as civilians flee to the south following Israeli warning to evacuate northern areas.
The fighting began on Oct. 7 when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea, and air. It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and increased settler violence.
The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.
The number of Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza has risen to 2,750, including 750 children. In Israel, 1,300 have been killed. (Anadolu)