Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday that Israel would hit back with great force against Hezbollah after the Lebanese group fired rockets into Israeli territory earlier in the day. The comments came as Netanyahu visited the nearby town of Kiryat Shmona on the Lebanese border, which has been hit hard by the latest spate of violence and fires.

Netanyahu’s visit comes in the wake of attacks from Hezbollah, which have sparked massive fires exacerbated by dry, powerful winds. For two days, emergency services have struggled to control the firestorms in Kiryat Shmona.

Netanyahu said: “Anyone who thinks that they can harm us and we will sit on our hands is sorely mistaken.” However, Netanyahu did not meet with Kiryat Shmona’s mayor, who has been vocally critical of the government’s response to the northern region’s plight.

IDF Chief Herzi Halevi indicated the military’s readiness for an offensive.

Meanwhile, the Israeli war cabinet has been discussing the border situation, with Netanyahu’s visit followed by high-level consultations.

The European Union has expressed concern over the destruction and displacement affecting both sides of the border. The EU’s diplomatic service has called for restraint, warning that a broader regional conflict would benefit no one. Despite Hezbollah’s indication that it does not seek an all-out war with Israel, the border situation remains highly volatile.

In response to the ongoing operations in Gaza’s Rafah, the Israeli cabinet has approved an increase in army reservists by an additional 50,000, bringing the total to approximately 350,000. This move is aimed at addressing the heightened personnel needs due to the war in Gaza, where Israel has announced the movement of ground forces into the Bureij refugee camp in Deir el-Balah, with continued air and artillery attacks.

Since 7 October, Israel has killed at least 36,586 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded 83,074 others in Gaza. Medical sources report that morgues are overflowing and hospitals are struggling to cope with the surge of casualties, particularly in Deir el-Balah, where Israeli strikes have killed at least 75 Palestinians in the past 24 hours.

Human Rights Watch has reported the use of white phosphorus shells by Israel in at least five towns in southern Lebanon. Although no burn injuries have been reported, there are concerns about possible respiratory issues. The Israeli military maintains that it uses white phosphorus only as a smokescreen and adheres to international law, prohibiting its use in densely populated areas with some exceptions.