The group has reported the updated toll as fighting continues along the Israel-Lebanon border, bringing the total number of Hezbollah members killed in the current escalation to 19.
Israel’s military announced it hit several Hezbollah positions in response to missile fire from Lebanon.
There are concerns that Hezbollah, which has a weapons arsenal consisting of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles as well as different types of drones, might try to open a new front in the Israel-Hamas war with a large-scale attack on northern Israel.
On Saturday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told troops stationed near the Lebanese border Hezbollah fighters are paying “a heavy price” for their attacks on Israel.
“Hezbollah has decided to participate in the fighting, [and] we are exacting a heavy price from it,” Gallant told troops at the Biranit camp on the Lebanon border, in remarks carried by multiple Israeli media outlets.
“I assume that the challenges will be greater [than they are now], and you have to take this into account, to be ready like a [coiled] spring for any situation,” he added.
Israeli and Hezbollah forces have engaged in tit-for-tat exchanges of rocket and artillery fire since the conflict with Hamas broke out two weeks ago. While the Lebanese paramilitary group has sent drones and a number of infiltrators across the border, no large-scale incursion has taken place, and Israel has thus far avoided opening a second front in the north.
However, Hezbollah has increased the frequency and severity of its attacks over the past week.
At least six Israeli soldiers, 19 Hezbollah forces, and five Palestinian fighters have been killed along the border since the conflict broke out, according to reports. One Israeli settler was killed in a Hezbollah attack, while several Lebanese civilians and a Reuters journalist were killed by Israeli shelling.
Gallant told senior Israeli officials this week that Hezbollah is “ten times stronger than Hamas”, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported.
With the IDF looking to keep the war contained to Gaza, Gallant and other officials have issued a mixture of threats and promises to the Lebanese group in a bid to keep its fighters out of the conflict.
“We have no interest in a war in the north. We don’t want to escalate the situation,” Gallant told reporters last week, adding that if Hezbollah “restrains itself, we will respect that and keep the situation as it is”.
The same day, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi warned in a televised statement that war with Hezbollah would “de facto, bring about the destruction of Lebanon”.