Israel intercepts ‘suspicious target’ off Haifa

JERUSALEM, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Israel’s military said it intercepted a “suspicious aerial target” on Friday off the northern port city of Haifa, amid high tension along the border with Lebanon.

The seaports of Haifa and Ashdod are crucial entry points for Israeli trade.

“I cannot confirm its exact proximity to the port but the fact that, as per protocol, no sirens were sounded means the target was far enough away,” said an army spokesperson, who refused to specify whether the object or its source had been identified.

It caused no damage or injuries, he added.

According to a maritime security source, the “suspicious target” was intercepted in the Haifa maritime zone, which extends 25 nautical miles from the coast.

In December, the Israeli military said it had intercepted a drone coming from Lebanon, which triggered sirens in the suburbs of Haifa.

Israel and Hezbollah, a Lebanese group supported by Iran, engaged in the deadliest cross-border hostilities since their 2006 war after the attack by Palestinian Hamas on October 7.

After evacuating tens of thousands of residents from areas near the Lebanese border, Israel threatened to intensify fighting in this region if Hezbollah did not stop its attacks there.

Authorities say Israeli ports are protected by air defense systems but the industry is concerned about the potential impact on Haifa of a major escalation in fighting with Hezbollah. (Written by the Jerusalem office and Jonathan Saul; French version Kate Entringer)

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