Israeli airstrike kills two in southern Lebanon

BEIRUT (Reuters) -Two people were killed on Saturday in an Israeli airstrike on the outskirts of the southern Lebanese town of Aitaroun, Lebanon's state news agency NNA said on Saturday.

The Israeli military said in a statement that its soldiers had identified a Hezbollah militant in the Aitaroun area, and that soon afterwards an Israeli aircraft had carried out an airstrike that hit the individual.

Israeli forces launched two missiles targeting a cafe at a petrol station, causing significant damage to the premises and to the surrounding area, NNA said.

Lebanese armed group Hezbollah said its fighters retaliated by firing rockets on Malkia, in northern Israel, followed by a salvo of missiles at a military command centre in northern Israel using the Falaq 2 rockets.

A security source told Reuters it was the first time the group used that model of rockets, having used the Falaq 1 previously.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) "identified a Hezbollah terrorist in the area of Aitaroun in southern Lebanon, and shortly afterward an IAF aircraft struck the terrorist," the Israeli military said in a statement.

The IDF said on Saturday jets had also struck infrastructure in the area of the town of Khiam after tanks had earlier fired at a Hezbollah military structure in the Kfarkela area.

The conflict between Lebanon's Hezbollah and Israel, which has been fought in parallel to the Gaza war, has intensified in recent days, adding to concerns that an even wider confrontation could break out between the heavily armed adversaries.

Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, says its attacks aim to support Palestinians under Israeli bombardment in Gaza.

The fighting - the worst hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel since they fought a war in 2006 - has forced tens of thousands of people to flee homes on both sides of the border.

(Reporting by Adam Makary, Maya Gebeily, Enas Alashray and Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Alexander Smith and Helen Popper)