Photo Credit: Yoav Dudkevitch/TPS
A warning sign at the entrance to a threatened road in the Upper Galilee, near the Israel-Lebanon border on Dec. 21, 2023.

Israeli forces were involved in a heavy exchange of fire with Hezbollah on Tuesday afternoon after an anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon struck a church in the village of Iqrit in the Western Galilee, wounding a civilian.

Israel Defense Forces and Magen David Adom emergency medical service teams were treating the injured person at the scene, according to Israeli media reports.


Iqrit is a Christian village that was abandoned in 1948 during Israel’s War of Independence. Descendants of those residents continue to maintain and use the St. Mary’s Church, a Greek Melkite church, as well as the local Christian cemetery.

Another anti-tank missile was fired at the area after Israeli forces arrived on the scene. Additionally, an anti-tank missile was launched at Moshav Dovev.

Due to the Hezbollah attacks, 90% of the population in southern Lebanon Christian villages have fled the region, according to a report in the National Catholic Register.

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror army has been waging a low-intensity conflict against Israel since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 people in the Jewish state.

In his Christmas message to Christians worldwide, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained that the Jewish state was confronting “monsters who murdered children in front of their parents and parents in front of their children, who raped and beheaded women, who burned babies alive, who took babies hostages.”

He added: “This is a battle not only of Israel against these barbarians, it’s a battle of civilization against barbarism. And I know in this that we have your support.”

Israeli Air Force fighter jets carried out extensive strikes on Hezbollah terror assets in Southern Lebanon on Tuesday morning, close to the border towns of Aita al-Shaab, Ramyeh and Meiss ej-Jabal, according to Lebanese media.

Prior to the strikes, Israeli reconnaissance drones flew over several Lebanese towns near the frontier, according to the reports.

Additionally, an IDF tank shelled a terror target to remove a threat from Lebanon, said the military.

The strikes came after terrorists in Lebanon fired several rockets towards the Mount Dov region.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held a situation assessment on Monday at the IDF’s Northern Command, where he was briefed on operational activities along the border.

Gallant emphasized that the conflict in the north would continue until the security situation is improved so some 80,000 evacuated residents can return to their homes.

“Fire was opened on Israel’s north without any Israeli provocation, and as a result of Hezbollah’s decision,” said Gallant. “We will not allow a return to the previous situation we were in until Oct. 6. We are hitting Hezbollah very hard—they have lost around 150 [terrorists], they have infrastructure that has been damaged, they have been pushed far in from the fence line, and the air force flies freely over Lebanon. We will expand our efforts,” he added.

“Hezbollah looks at what is happening in Gaza and it understands very well—what we did in Gaza can also be done in Beirut. We do not want this scenario, but we will not leave the residents [of Israel’s north] without protection, and we will return them to their homes,” said Gallant.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant holds a situation assessment at the IDF’s Northern Command, Dec. 25, 2023. Photo by Elad Malka.
Overnight Monday, terrorists in Lebanon fired several rockets towards the northern town of Manara.

There were no reports of injuries in the town, which has been largely evacuated due to repeated Hezbollah anti-tank missile attacks.

Earlier Monday, terrorists in Lebanese territory launched a surface-to-air missile at an Israeli aircraft.

The missile did not strike the aircraft, which completed its mission successfully, according to the military.

Also on Monday, the IDF began closing communities and roads along the Lebanese border following a military assessment. These closures impact the Upper Galilee, Mevo’ot HaHermon and Mateh Asher regional councils.

There was a series of incidents at the northern border on Monday afternoon, including an anti-tank missile fired at Kibbutz Misgav Am from Lebanese territory. There were no reports of injuries and the IDF responded by firing at the source of the launch.

Furthermore, two anti-tank missiles were fired at Moshav Beit Hillel, also in the Galilee, with no reports of casualties.

On Sunday, the IAF completed an extensive wave of attacks on Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in Lebanon.

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TPS - The Tazpit News Agency provides news from Israel.