Israel Strikes Deeper into Lebanon as White House Hopes for Hostage Deal

JERUSALEM, Israel – Nearly five months into the war in Gaza, fighting in the north is ramping up while Israeli troops find more tunnels in Gaza. It’s also municipal election day in Israel after voting was postponed due to the war.

Dozens of rockets were fired at Mt. Meron in northern Israel Tuesday morning. It’s believed Hezbollah forces were targeting the air traffic control base there.

Israel struck unusually deep – nearly 60 miles – into Lebanon Monday, prompting a Hezbollah attack, a volley of dozens of rockets, on the usually-quiet Golan Heights. The Iranian-backed group also aimed at several other targets.

Earlier, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced Israel is planning to increase its firepower against Hezbollah, as the most powerful force in Lebanon is unable to find replacement commanders for those Israel is eliminating.

“We will continue to fire and we will do so independently from the south, until we achieve our goals. The goal is simple: to withdraw Hezbollah to where it should be, either via an agreement, or we will do it by force,” Gallant stated.

On Instagram, Police Spokesman Dean Elsdunne showed visuals of a home hit in a recent Hezbollah rocket attack on northern Israel.

He noted, “As you can see now this family has nothing to come back to. Why? Because Hezbollah, just like Hamas, is choosing to target our civilians. And that’s why we have every single right to defend ourselves – because no other country in the world would allow this to happen to their civilians.”

In Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces say they found a six-mile-long tunnel connecting the northern and southern sections of the Gaza Strip, also running beneath a hospital and a university.

Major Ron, of the Nahal Brigade Combat Team explained, “Throughout the entire war, we’ve witnessed Hamas using civilian infrastructure, like hospitals, kindergartens, schools and more, to dig tunnels and dispose of weapons, which we also found inside the Turkish hospital.”

Israeli officials say they believe Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is hiding in the tunnel network under southern Gaza, surrounded by a human shield of hostages. That complicates Israel’s task of capturing or killing him.

Jordan’s military airdropped aid into the Gaza Strip Monday containing ready-made meals of high nutritional value.

And President Joe Biden hopes there will be a hostage deal by March 4. Qatar hosted talks toward that end on Monday.

“My national security advisor tells me that we’re close, it’s not done yet,” Biden said.

Around Israel, residents are heading to the polls in more than 240 communities to choose municipal leaders and councils. The elections, originally scheduled for October 31 last year, were postponed twice because of war concerns.

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