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Sirens sound in Haifa for first time since January

June 12, 2024 at 10:45 am

Clouds of smoke are billowing from Israel’s northern port city of Haifa on the Mediterranean Coast in the area of the Israel-Lebanon border on December 16, 2023 [Mati Milstein/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

Rocket alert sirens sounded in Haifa, northern Israel, yesterday for the first time since January, yet the Israeli army did not immediately comment on the cause.

Images and videos shared on social media platforms showed large numbers of Israelis fleeing towards shelters, amid speculations of Hezbollah drones arriving in the city.

Hezbollah had announced that its air defences were responding to an Israeli warplane that violated Lebanon’s airspace, pushing it back. This was the second such incident in three days.

The group said in a statement that its air defence unit “responded, on Monday-Tuesday night, to an enemy Zionist aircraft that violated Lebanese airspace and fired a surface-to-air missile at it, forcing it to retreat towards occupied Palestine [Israel] and immediately leave Lebanese airspace.”

According to observers, Hezbollah’s announcement represents “an unprecedented development” in the group’s capabilities to confront Israeli warplanes and neutralise them from Lebanon’s airspace, a major shift in the course of battles.

READ: Hezbollah’s drones pose ‘real challenge’ to Israel air defences