The Israeli authorities said on Sunday that they would evacuate 14 more Israeli villages near the northern border with Lebanon amid escalating tit-for-tat clashes between Israeli forces and Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militia, that have raised concerns that the Israel-Hamas war could ignite other regional confrontations.
Overall, more than 152,000 Israeli residents of cities, towns and villages near the borders of Gaza in the south and Lebanon in the north have evacuated their homes for safer parts of the country over the past two weeks, according to local Israeli authorities.
Haim Bibas, the chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, who provided the figure, said it was likely to be the largest internal population displacement in the country’s 75-year history.
The scale of the displacement in Israel does not compare with that in Gaza, where an estimated 700,000 Palestinians in the northern half of the crowded coastal territory are believed to have heeded warnings from the Israeli military to move south amid an ongoing aerial bombardment. The United Nations said on Sunday that 1.4 million residents of Gaza were internally displaced overall. The total population of Gaza is more than two million people, while Israel’s population is over nine million.
The Israeli military said that over the past 24 hours, it had eliminated several squads of fighters trying to close in on Israeli positions and communities along the border with Lebanon and that Israel had attacked Hezbollah assets, observation points and military compounds across the border, including one from which a ground-to-air missile was fired at an Israeli drone. The claims had not been independently verified.
The pace of attacks appeared to be intensifying. On Sunday the Israeli military said it had fired back toward Lebanese territory after fighters launched anti-tank missiles against Israeli targets in three locations and said its aerial defense system had intercepted a drone approaching Israel from Lebanon.
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