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Israel strikes Palestinian base in Lebanon: reports

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Israeli jets have attacked a Palestinian base in eastern Lebanon near the border with Syria, according to Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency.

The report says there were three strikes early on Monday, minutes apart, that struck a base for a Syrian- backed group known as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), an ally of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group.

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the strike, which the agency said hit near the Lebanese village of Qusaya in the eastern Bekaa Valley.

Air strikes by Israel against Palestinian factions in Lebanon, such as this one, have been rare in the past years.

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut, said the attack against the PFLP-GC base took place near the border with Syria, in very “rugged terrain”.

“It’s [the area] believed to be made up of tunnels, linking both countries together,” Khodr said.

The strike comes amid heightened regional tensions and a day after alleged Israeli drones crashed in the southern suburb of Beirut, prompting strong reaction from the leader of Hezbollah movement.

In a speech hours after one of the drones crashed in the Lebanese capital, Hassan Nasrallah saidthe Israeli drones were on a “suicide mission”.

“Hezbollah will not allow such an aggression,” he said in a televised address on Sunday. “The time when Israeli aircraft come and bombard parts of Lebanon is over.”

Nasrallah also vowed to retaliate to an Israeli airstrike inside Syria that took place late on Saturday, which he said killed two Hezbollah members.

Later on Sunday, Iraq’s powerful Hashd al-Shaabi force, or Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), blamed Israel for carrying out a deadly drone attack close to the border with Syria.

The PMF is mostly comprised of Shia Muslim fighters and has received Iranian training and advice, but operates officially under Iraq’s armed forces and uses military unit names.

Israel has carried out several hundred attacks against Iranian forces and their allies in neighbouring Syria since the beginning of the country’s civil war in 2011, saying it won’t tolerate a permanent Iranian presence there or the transfer of advanced weapons to the Hezbollah movement.

Al Jazeera’s Khodr said the latest attack is a message to Hezbollah more than the PFLP-GC command since it came “just hours” after Nasrallah vowed to down any Israeli drone that violates Lebanese air space.

Hezbollah and Israel fought a month-long war in 2006. The volatile border between the two countries, which remain technically in a state of war, has been mostly calm since that conflict.

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