An Israeli reservist with dual citizenship in the US and Israel has been killed in a Hezbollah missile strike in northern Israel. 

Staff Sergeant Omer Balva, 22, was killed on Friday night by an anti-tank missile attack near the border with Lebanon, where cross-border skirmishes are intensifying, the Times of Israel reported. 

Balva grew up in Rockville, Maryland and was in the US when he was called up for reserve service last week, promptly flying back to Israel to report for duty.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) says that in response to Hezbollah missile strikes, it launched a number of manned and unmanned airstrikes targeting the group’s positions in southern Lebanon.

The rising tensions in the north came as the IDF massed forces in southern Israel in preparation for a ground assault on the Gaza Strip, two weeks after Hamas launched a deadly surprise attack from the Palestinian enclave.

Dual Israeli-American citizen Omer Balva, 22, was killed on Friday night by an anti-tank missile attack near the border with Lebanon after being called up for IDF reserve duty

Dual Israeli-American citizen Omer Balva, 22, was killed on Friday night by an anti-tank missile attack near the border with Lebanon after being called up for IDF reserve duty

Dual Israeli-American citizen Omer Balva, 22, was killed on Friday night by an anti-tank missile attack near the border with Lebanon after being called up for IDF reserve duty

Smoke rises from inside an Israeli army position which was hit by Hezbollah fighters as seen from Tair Harfa village, a Lebanese border village with Israel, on Friday

Smoke rises from inside an Israeli army position which was hit by Hezbollah fighters as seen from Tair Harfa village, a Lebanese border village with Israel, on Friday

Smoke rises from inside an Israeli army position which was hit by Hezbollah fighters as seen from Tair Harfa village, a Lebanese border village with Israel, on Friday

The cross-border strikes between Israel and Lebanon on Friday night renewed fears that Hezbollah could open a second front in the war.

‘IDF aircraft attacked a series of military targets of the Hezbollah terrorist organization in the last few hours, in response to the firing of anti-tank missiles and launches into Israeli territory last night,’ the IDF said in a statement late Friday.

‘Among the targets that were attacked, a series of military compounds that were used by the organization for operational needs and terrorist infrastructure. In addition, the IDF attacked an anti-tank launcher located in the border area and aimed at Israel,’ the IDF added.

Like Hamas, Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed militant faction that is designated a foreign terrorist organization by the US and EU. 

Developing story, more to follow. 

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