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MORNING BRIEF

Israeli strikes spark wildfire in south, telecoms form contingency plan, Bassil and Frangieh find common ground: Everything you need to know to start your Friday

Here’s what happened yesterday and what to expect today, Friday, Oct. 27.

Israeli strikes spark wildfire in south, telecoms form contingency plan, Bassil and Frangieh find common ground: Everything you need to know to start your Friday

A picture of Yasser Arafat in the Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. (Credit: João Sousa/L'Orient Today/File photo)

Catch up on our LIVE coverage of Day 20 of the Hamas-Israel war here.

Israeli bombardments obstructed the Civil Defense’s attempts to extinguish a fire sparked by airstrikes in Alma al-Shaab, Sour, an organization spokesperson told L’Orient Today. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) spokesperson Andrea Tenenti told L’Orient Today the fire was burning near a minefield, further exacerbating firefighting efforts. One firefighter was lightly injured by a mine explosion. Israeli strikes started fires in Aita al-Shaab, Rashaya al-Foukhar, Alma al-Shaab, Labbouneh, Ras al-Naqoura and Dhayra. A spokesperson for the Civil Defense said Israel deliberately targeted their teams while they attempted to fully extinguish the fire. Cross-border attacks between Hezbollah and Israel have led to the deaths of combatants on both sides and have killed several civilians in Lebanon. The Lebanese Red Cross reported to L'Orient Today that the bodies of two individuals "targeted by Israeli bombardment" and six wounded had been transferred to Yaroun, South Lebanon, on Wednesday night. “We are proud of our martyrs,” Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah said during a funeral for a party fighter killed in border clashes after announcing two additional deaths among its militants. Hezbollah did not claim any military operation against the Israeli army in southern Lebanon yesterday— for the first time since Oct. 13.

Lebanese mobile telecoms operators Alfa and Touch have prepared a series of war-readiness measures, the state-run National News Agency reported. Caretaker Telecoms Minister Johnny Corm told Voice of Lebanon radio the mobile telecoms providers intend to fill their diesel stock, maintain mobile generators, operate a remote network control room and remain ready in case of network breaches. Alfa and Touch’s plan also includes securing enough recharge cards to meet the market’s needs. On Wednesday, Ogero announced a similar plan to ensure its services continue in the event of a war, without detailing what measures have been taken. Cabinet approved a plan to maintain vital services operational if a conflict breaks out. Meanwhile, Middle East Airlines (MEA) is operating at half its capacity and has precautionarily grounded planes in Istanbul. An MEA spokesperson told L’Orient Today outbound flights have an occupancy approaching 95 percent, more than double the 45 percent occupancy of arriving flights.

Marada Movement leader and Hezbollah-backed presidential candidate Sleiman Frangieh said he concurred with Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader Gebran Bassil that “Lebanon is more important than the presidency.” After his visit to Zgharta, Bassil said the pair agreed on “how to deal with the risk of war, unite efforts and reorganize institutions.” The FPM leader has stridently opposed Frangieh’s candidacy. This week Bassil also met with former Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Joumblatt and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who also backs Frangieh. Repeated international mediation has failed to mend the presidential vacuum in effect since last October.

The Gaza Health Ministry said 7,028 people, including nearly 3,000 children, have been killed in the enclave since the start of Israeli bombardment on Oct. 7. Bombardments and fuel shortages forced the closure of 12 of Gaza's 35 hospitals, the UN said, while those still operating have insufficient supplies, medical staff told Reuters. The UN’s Palestinian refugee agency said the exhaustion of its fuel supplies has forced it to halt “life-saving services.” Fuel shortages, meanwhile, threaten to turn hospitals into “morgues,” the Red Cross warned. The United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Morocco decried Israel’s disregard for war rules by targeting civilians. In reference to Israel ordering the residents of northern Gaza to evacuate or be treated as Hamas accomplices, Amnesty International said, “declaring a whole city or region a military target flies in the face of international humanitarian law.” Hamas claimed that Israeli airstrikes have killed 50 people who were part of the 200 hostages abducted on Oct. 7. International actors have urged Israel to delay a ground invasion of Gaza, saying it would complicate the release of hostages.

In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: "One week on, what we know about the strike on al-Ahli Arab Hospital"

Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz

Catch up on our LIVE coverage of Day 20 of the Hamas-Israel war here. Israeli bombardments obstructed the Civil Defense’s attempts to extinguish a fire sparked by airstrikes in Alma al-Shaab, Sour, an organization spokesperson told L’Orient Today. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) spokesperson Andrea Tenenti told L’Orient Today the fire was burning near a minefield,...