Hezbollah drone kills IDF soldier in northern Israel

Sgt. (res.) Refael Kauders, 39 death raises the Israeli military’s death toll on all fronts to 644 since the start of the war on Oct. 7.


An Israel Defense Forces reservist was killed in a Hezbollah drone attack on the Druze town of Hurfeish near the Lebanon border on Wednesday evening, the military announced on Thursday morning.

The casualty was identified as Sgt. (res.) Refael Kauders, 39, from Tzur Hadassah. Nine other soldiers were also wounded, one of them seriously.

The IDF is investigating why the attack did not trigger air-raid sirens. Hurfeish is located more than 3 kilometers (nearly 2 miles) from the Lebanese border and its residents have not been evacuated.

Kauders’s death raises the Israeli military’s death toll on all fronts to 644 since the start of the war on Oct. 7.

Hezbollah took responsibility for launching the two drones towards a soccer field, with Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen outlet claiming that “the Islamic Resistance fighters targeted…a deployment of Israeli enemy soldiers in the Baram Forest with rocket weapons and hit them directly.”

Israeli President Isaac Herzog commented on the attack during his speech at Jerusalem Day celebrations in the capital, saying Israel cannot remain indifferent to Hezbollah terrorism.

“Israel is attacked every day, for long months, by Iran’s proxies in Lebanon, who crudely violate international treaties, said Herzog. “The world must wake up and understand that Israel is left with no choice but to defend its citizens.”

Hezbollah has attacked northern Israel nearly every day since joining the war in support of Hamas on Oct. 8, killing more than 20 people and causing widespread damage. Tens of thousands of Israelis remain internally displaced due to the violence.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Jewish state is “prepared for very intense action in the north” to restore security” and return the 60,000 displaced residents to their homes near the Lebanese border.

“We said at the start of the war that we would restore security in both the south and the north, and this is what we are doing,” the premier said after earlier being briefed by commanders at the IDF’s Gibor base.