Rockets were fired at Israel from Syria, defence officials in Tel Aviv said on Friday evening as “dozens” of people from Lebanon stormed across the country’s southern border.
The Israel Defence Forces said three rockets were fired from Syria, with one landing within the borders of Israel’s northeastern neighbour.
Meanwhile, footage broadcast live on social media platforms showed crowds of people in Lebanon making their way to the Israel border waving Palestinian flags.
The Israeli army confirmed the incident, asserting that its tanks had fired warning shots towards a number of “rioters” who had crossed into Israeli territory.
The border crossing unfolded after the death toll in Gaza rose on Friday following a fresh assault from the Israeli army that saw ground forces join the operation.
A total of 55 rockets were fired overnight in a coordinated effort that saw 160 planes from 12 different squadrons, as well as three brigade forces of infantry troops, operate together, Israeli army spokesperson Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said.
He said the assault was aimed at destroying an “underground tunnel system” used by Hamas operatives known as the “metro” in Gaza.
At least 137 Palestinians have been killed in the violence this week, with more than 30 children among the dead and 950 others injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.
Meanwhile, Lt Col Conricus said the death toll in Israel had risen to 8 after an elderly woman died overnight while running to a shelter.
The Israeli army spokesperson did not provide any update on whether a ground invasion would take place on Friday. However, he said that “Hamas’s rocket production capacity has been significantly downgraded” following the fresh assault.
Militants have fired some 1,600 rockets towards Israel from Gaza in the last few days, according to the IDF. That is one-third the total fired in the 50-day-long war in 2014, a barrage James Cleverly, the UK’s Middle East minister, called “unprecedented”.