Nine Israeli troops were wounded as they tried to evacuate an injured civilian from the religious site, according to Israeli media
The IDF has blamed Hezbollah for deliberately targeting an Orthodox church in the Israeli settlement of Iqrit, not far from the Lebanese border.
The historic St. Mary’s Greek-Orthodox Church was “directly hit” with an anti-tank missile that came from Lebanese territory, the Israeli military said on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday. It initially announced that one civilian was injured in the attack but later clarified that two “Israeli Christians” were hurt.
“This attack is not only a clear violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701, but also a violation of the freedom of worship,” the message read. The relevant resolution was adopted in 2006, calling on both the IDF and Hezbollah to cease hostilities on the Israeli-Lebanese border.
In a later video address, Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that Hezbollah fired another missile at the church as the IDF troops arrived on site to evacuate one of the wounded civilians. Nine soldiers were injured in the incident, he said. The Israeli media described the wounds of one of the troops as serious.
The IDF said that in response, it struck Hezbollah’s sites inside Lebanon, including a building from where the missile that targeted the church came. In another message on X, it accused Hezbollah of firing a projectile at Israeli positions from a location near a mosque in the Lebanese village of Yaroun.
“Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon follows the same extremist and dangerous ideology as Hamas, firing from holy sites in Lebanon and Gaza, and firing at holy sites across Israel,” Hagari insisted in his address.
He blamed the armed group for “risking the stability of the region for the sake of Hamas” and trying to “drag” Lebanon into the war in Gaza. Israel is “preparing for all scenarios,” Hagari said, adding that Hezbollah will “bear the consequences” if it keeps acting in the same manner.
Exchanges of fire on the Lebanese border have occurred daily since the IDF began its attacks on Gaza in response to a deadly incursion into Israel by the Palestinian armed group Hamas on October 7.
Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese cleric Sheikh Sadiq Al-Nabulsi told RT last week that through its actions, the group is trying to make the IDF spread out its forces to prevent further expansion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel has targeted mosques on several occasions during its air campaign in Gaza, claiming that Hamas had used the religious site as a command post or arms depot.