lebanon israel bomb
© XSmoke rising over the area following an Israeli attack on the Baalbek-Hermel governorate. 26 February, 2024. This was the first Israeli attack near the eastern city of Baalbek since the war began in October.
Israeli warplanes attacked eastern Lebanon on 26 February for the first time since the Lebanese resistance began its operations in October.

An airstrike hit the town of Haouch Tal Safiya, west of the ancient city of Baalbek, in the Baalbek-Hermel governorate. Video footage shows heavy clouds of smoke rising from the area.

Hezbollah brought down a large Israeli Hermes drone over south Lebanon with a surface-to-air missile on 26 February, the resistance group announced via its media page, marking its second operation of the day.

"In support of our steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and in support of their valiant and honorable resistance, the air defense unit of the Islamic Resistance, at 09:20 am on Monday ... shot down a large Israeli Hermes 450 drone with a surface-to-air missile over the Iqlim al-Tuffah area, and it was seen falling with the naked eye," Hezbollah said in a statement.

"The Islamic Resistance confirms that the eyes of its mujahideen will remain watchful and will continue to confront enemy aircraft and prevent them from achieving their aggressive goals," the statement added.

Video footage on social media shows the drone bursting into flames and plummeting to the ground.

Hezbollah announced earlier that morning that it struck the Al-Baghdadi site with missiles and achieved "direct hits."

The Israeli army confirmed the downing of the Hermes drone. A military spokesman said in a statement that Israel intercepted a surface-to-air missile launched towards the drone, but Hezbollah fired another missile towards it and brought it down, according to the army statement.

Crossfire continues to rage on the southern Lebanese border. As Hezbollah launches daily operations against Israeli military sites, Tel Aviv responds with violent and indiscriminate attacks on homes and civilians.

One of the resistance group's commanders was assassinated in an Israeli strike last month. Israel claims to have assassinated several Hezbollah commanders.

"We are planning to increase the firepower against Hezbollah, which is unable to find replacements for the commanders we are eliminating," Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Sunday while visiting the Israeli army's northern command headquarters in Safad, which was recently the target of a heavy missile attack.

"In the event of a temporary truce in Gaza, we will increase the fire in the north, and will continue until the full withdrawal of Hezbollah [from the border] and the return of the residents to their homes," he added.

"The goal is simple — to push Hezbollah back to where it should be. Either by an agreement or by force."

Hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers were forced to evacuate their settlements since the start of Hezbollah's pro-Gaza operations in October.

Western countries continue to pressure Lebanon and Hezbollah into de-escalation and a withdrawal of the resistance from the border without demanding any concessions from Israel. Hezbollah has repeatedly said it will not stop attacking Israeli sites until the war on Gaza ends.