Israel expanded evacuations from communities on its northern front with Lebanon on Sunday as cross-border clashes with Lebanon's Hezbollah group escalated since war erupted in Gaza more than two weeks ago, while Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hezbollah against opening a second front of war with Israel.

After activating a plan last week to relocate residents from 28 villages in the border area and from the nearby town of Kiryat Shmona while providing temporary accommodation at state expense, Israel's Defense Ministry said it would add 14 villages to the evacuation list.

The exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel has increased since the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on Israel on October 7 in response to the ongoing Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people, while Israeli forces responded with intensive aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

It is the worst escalation of violence along the Israeli-Lebanese border since the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

The Israeli occupation army said today that it struck several Hezbollah targets in Lebanon overnight, including targeting what it described as a compound from which a missile was fired at one of its drones, and the army did not specify the location.

In the aftermath, Israeli forces bombed three groups of fighters who had launched or were preparing to launch anti-armor missiles across the border, the army said, adding that it also shot down a drone coming from Lebanon.

The Hizbullah-run Al-Manar TV channel reported that Israeli shelling targeted the vicinity of the village of Alma al-Shaab and its surroundings west of the border areas, as well as the vicinity of the village of Aitaroun to the east, adding that the area around the Lebanese town of Houla on the opposite side of the Israeli Kiryat Shmona was also subjected to Israeli shelling.

Hezbollah said 19 of its fighters had been killed in clashes on the border from Oct. 7 until Saturday.

Israel warns Hezbollah

Sources have said Hezbollah's attacks on Israel are aimed at keeping the IDF busy without provoking a major war, and Israel says it is not interested in waging war and will maintain the status quo if Hezbollah exercised restraint.

But rising tensions have raised fears in the region and beyond of a wider conflict as Israel prepares for an expected ground incursion into Gaza.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned Hezbollah against opening a second front of war with Israel, saying it would push Israel to carry out counterstrikes with "unimaginable force" and wreak havoc on Lebanon.

In an official transcript of a briefing Netanyahu gave to Israeli commandos near the border with Lebanon, he also said: "I can't tell you now whether Hezbollah will decide to enter the war completely."

Netanyahu added to the forces that the current war was tantamount to "action or death" for Israel.