Golan Regional Council head urges Israel to respond ‘with force’ after Hezbollah rocket fire kills two

The head of the Golan Regional Council called for the Israeli government to attack Hezbollah “with force” and to move its offensive into the Lebanese side of the border Tuesday after a Hezbollah rocket attack killed two people.

A woman and man were “killed on the spot” in the Golan Heights when a projectile directly hit their vehicle, according to Israeli police.

“Several projectiles were identified falling in the area,” the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) added in a statement following sirens in the Golan Heights.

“Tonight what we had been warning and talked about for three months happened; We lost lives of residents from the Golan community,” head of the Golan Regional Council Ori Kallner said in a statement. “We call on the government of Israel and the IDF on this difficult evening to protect the residents of the Golan, to stop the policy of restraint, attack our enemies with force and restore security to the residents of the north and the Golan.”

“We will not allow the Golan to be turned into Israel’s security zone. The offensive must be moved into the other side of the border, into enemy territory,” Kallner added.

Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also holds a position in the country’s Defense Ministry, also called on the Israeli military to “strike Hezbollah and Lebanon mercilessly.”

The Golan Heights is under Israeli government control and is considered to be occupied territory by the international community.

Earlier, Magen David Adom paramedics had described responding to a “difficult” scene at the site of the hit on the vehicle.

“We saw a vehicle that suffered a direct hit, and in its front were an unconscious man and woman who were critically injured. During the medical treatment, additional sirens were activated,” the medics said in a statement.

“We ran to protect ourselves and handled the incident as sirens went off. Military personnel assisted on the scene.”

Firefighters said they were responding to at least eight fires following the projectile hits.

In a statement, Hezbollah said that they had fired dozens of Katyusha rockets on the Golan Heights “in response” to an alleged Israeli attack in Syria targeting a Hezbollah key member earlier on Tuesday.

Hezbollah member Yasser Nemr Qranbish was killed in an attack targeting him in an area west of the capital, Damascus, on the old Damascus-Beirut road, the group added, without providing further details.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the strike.

The Israeli military said in a statement Tuesday that the Israeli Air Force “struck Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure in the area of Qabrikha from which the projectiles were launched toward the area of the Golan Heights.”

“In addition, the IAF struck Hezbollah military structures in the area of Kfarkela in southern Lebanon,” the IDF statement added.

Cross-border fire between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah has been an almost daily occurrence since the war in Gaza began. But it has been gradually intensifying, raising fears it could escalate into a full-blown conflict.

Hezbollah is one of the most powerful paramilitary forces in the Middle East, with tens of thousands of fighters and a vast missile arsenal.

The group has said its current round of fighting with Israel is to support Palestinians in Gaza.

Smotrich extended condolences to the families of those killed and said the Israeli military and government should “restore security” for residents of the Golan Heights.

“The time has come for courage and valor also from the leadership of the IDF and the state of Israel, and as I have been demanding for a long time, to strike Hezbollah and Lebanon mercilessly and restore security to the residents of the North,” said Smotrich, who also holds a position in the Defense Ministry, in a statement on Tuesday night.

Former Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz also commented on the attack, saying it was “once again a difficult and sad evening.”

“The operative effort should have been transferred to the North in March, as we demanded. Prime Minister Netanyahu hesitated, and refused to add the return of the residents of the north to their homes by September 1 to the objectives of the war – and we are paying the price. And that price is heavy,” said Gantz, who resigned from Netanyahu’s government in June.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com