The Lebanese group Hezbollah says one of its commanders has been killed in a strike in southern Lebanon believed to have been carried out by Israel.

Wissam Tawil was reportedly a member of the group’s elite Radwan Force, and one of the most prominent Hezbollah figures to be killed in the current violence.

Israel’s military did not comment, but it did say it had hit Hezbollah targets in response to cross-border attacks.

The clashes have raised fears of a wider regional conflict.

Hezbollah is an Iran-backed group that wields considerable military and political power in Lebanon. It is designated as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the UK and other Western powers.

Its fighters have exchanged fire with Israeli forces almost every day along the border since the start of the war between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in the Gaza Strip on 7 October.

Israel’s prime minister told soldiers stationed on the border with Lebanon on Monday that he was determined to “do everything necessary to restore security to the north”.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported that two people – whom it did not name – were killed in an Israeli air strike that targeted a car in the al-Dabsha area of Khirbet Selim at around 10:15 (08:15 GMT) on Monday.

The strike caused the vehicle to veer off the road and catch fire, it added.

Pictures from the scene showed the burned-out wreck of a car on a roadside.

Lebanese security sources said one of those killed in the strike was Wissam Tawil and that the other was also a Hezbollah fighter.

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Three sources told Reuters news agency that Tawil was the deputy head of a unit within Hezbollah’s Radwan Force, whose well-trained members are considered the group’s special forces.

AFP news agency meanwhile cited another source as saying that Tawil “had a leading role in managing Hezbollah’s operations in the south” of Lebanon.

Later, Hezbollah issued a statement announcing Tawil’s death and describing him as a “commander”. It did not confirm that he was killed in a strike, saying only that he “rose as a martyr on the road to Jerusalem”.

The statement provided no details about Tawil’s role in Hezbollah, but the group published photos showing him shaking hands with its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, and sitting next the late Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was assassinated in a US strike in Iraq in 2020.

The group also announced that its fighters had fired at Israeli forces in the Shtoula area of northern Israel and in the disputed Shebaa Farms/Mount Dov area in the occupied Golan Heights.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it would not comment on foreign media reports about Tawil’s death.

However, not long after the incident in Khirbet Selim it put out a statement saying that it “struck a number of areas in Lebanese territory” after an anti-tank missile was launched towards the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona.

“Additionally, [Israeli Air Force] fighter jets struck a series of Hezbollah terror targets in Lebanon, including military sites in which Hezbollah terrorists operated,” it added.

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