Tensions rise in South Lebanon between Hezbollah and Israel: Day 23 of Israel-Hamas war

What you need to know

Civil order is beginning to collapse in Gaza, UNRWA warns.

Cross-border shelling and bombing continues in southern Lebanon.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized after criticizing Israel's security apparatus.

Iran has warned Israel its actions in Gaza “may force everyone to act.”

Hamas's leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinouar, said he was ready "to immediately conclude an exchange to free all the prisoners in the Zionist enemy's prisons in exchange for all the hostages."

21:05 Beirut Time

Thank you for joining the LIVE blog on the latest from day 23 of the Israel-Hamas war. We will be back tomorrow morning with more news updates.

21:04 Beirut Time

Israeli warplanes carried out an attack targeting an empty house between Yater and Jbal el-Botm in South Lebanon, according to a security source cited by our correspondent Mountasser Abdallah.

20:56 Beirut Time

Israeli military said number of people confirmed held hostage in Gaza rises to 239, according to Reuters.

20:24 Beirut Time

The Ezzeddine al-Qassam Brigades, armed wing of Hamas, confirmed to L'Orient Today to have launched 16 rockets at Nahariya from Lebanon in response to "the occupier's crimes against the people of Gaza."

Nahariya is a town located in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon.

20:01 Beirut Time

Hezbollah said that it targeted an Israeli infantry unit near the town of Barket Richa, on the border between Lebanon and Israel.

"The targets were hit by guided missiles, and some injuries have been reported," the party added in a statement.

19:29 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Sunday with US President Joe Biden, Netanyahu's office said, after Israel expanded ground incursions in Gaza, according to Reuters.

The statement did not expand on this.

19:22 Beirut Time

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for targeting an Israeli drone in the Eastern Khiam with a surface-to-air missile and hitting it directly.

The party added that the drone was "was seen with the naked eye falling into the occupied Palestinian territories."‏

19:20 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced in a statement a new death among its fighters: ‏Mohammad Halawi, "who rose as a martyr on the road to Jerusalem."

The party did not specify the date or location of his death.

The total number of Hezbollah members killed since Oct. 7 reached 48.

19:19 Beirut Time

An Israeli drone targeted an uninhabited building in Mais al-Jabal, South Lebanon, injuring a passer-by and causing damage, the president of the village's municipal council told L'Orient Today.

According to the official National News Agency (NNA), the drone in question targeted motorcycles in the village, injuring two people.

L'Orient Today contacted a senior security source who had no information about the incident.

19:06 Beirut Time

Al-Fajr forces, the military wing of the Jamaa Islamiyya, claimed responsibility in a statement for launching missiles from Lebanon towards Kiryat Shmoona in Northern Israel.

"Today, Al-Fajr forces ... directed new, focused missile attacks targeting the Zionist enemy positions around and inside the occupied Kiryat Shmona settlement in northern occupied Palestine," said the statement.

The military wing affirmed that it will continue to strike Israel as long as the latter continues its attacks on Southern Lebanon and Gaza, adding that the group is able to "expand the scope" of its strikes.

18:51 Beirut Time

Reporters without borders: Killing of Reuters journalist in Lebanon on Oct. 13 was targeted strike from direction of Israeli border. 

18:14 Beirut Time

A rocket hit a home in Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. There are no immediate reports of casualties.

Kiryat Shmoona is located close to the Lebanese border.

17:34 Beirut Time

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that sirens sounded in northern Israel.

Simultaneously, missiles were launched from Lebanon towards Israel, according to Al-Manar's correspondent.

Israeli media claimed that explosions sounded near Safad after rockets were fired from southern Lebanon.

17:23 Beirut Time

BREAKING: Hezbollah said it targeted an Israeli infantry unit that was present at the Malikiye site in Israeli territory on the border with Lebanon., according to a statement. Hezbollah also claimed to have "caused certain injuries" among the members of this unit.

In another statement, the party stated that it had targeted an Israeli position in Shebaa farms and "caused direct damage," without giving further details.

State-run National News Agency (NNA) reported that Israeli bombardments targeted the area around Dhayra, Yarin and Boustan, in the western sector of the southern border. It added that the area around Chaaitiyeh was targeted "by numerous shells."

16:55 Beirut Time

Iranian Foreign Minister said Iran does not want war to "spread out," according to Reuters.

16:21 Beirut Time

Lebanese caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister Abdallah Bou Habib received a phone call from the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins, according to a statement released by the Lebanese Foreign Ministry.

During the phone call, Bou Habib stressed the "need to put pressure on Israel to stop its provocations and threats issued by government and military officials to destroy Lebanon and return it to the Stone Age.”

Bou Habib clarified that these threats increase the probability of turning the war between Hamas and Israel into a regional conflict.

He expressed to his Dutch counterpart his “deep concern about the recent escalation in Gaza and the necessity of stopping the war and Israel’s respect for international humanitarian law.”

Both ministers agreed that "peace and stability in the region as a whole begins with the implementation of the two-state solution by establishing a Palestinian state that grants the Palestinian people sovereignty and preserves their dignity."

16:05 Beirut Time

Fishermen in Sour, South Lebanon are among those counting the costs of war in the Middle East, according to Reuters.

As Israel and Hezbollah clash, it is too dangerous for fishermen to sail into nearby fishing grounds.

15:48 Beirut Time

The Israeli Amry struck a Hezbollah cell attempting to fire an anti-tank missile at Israel, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

According to Al-Manar's correspondent and Al Jadeed, Israeli warplanes launched an air strike on Jabal al-Sadana in the heights of Kfar Shuba.

15:10 Beirut Time

BREAKING: An Israeli drone has opened fire on a house in Aita al-Shaab, in south Lebanon, the state-run National News Agency, Hezbollah's Al-Manar channel and several other local media outlets report.

All these sources indicate that no injuries have been reported.

15:01 Beirut Time

France's Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu will travel to Lebanon next week, his office announced today.

The Wednesday to Friday trip aims to "reaffirm our attachment to the stability of Lebanon," according to announcement, which specifies that Lecornu will meet with the Lebanese authorities, including caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

On Thursday morning, Lecornu will visit UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping mission stationed in southern Lebanon since 1978. There are 700 French soldiers serving with UNIFIL.

14:54 Beirut Time

Meanwhile, from the occupied West Bank reports emerge of Palestinian villagers being driven from their land. On Oct. 12, five days after the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, residents of Wadi al-Seeq say dozens of Israelis turned up and gave them an hour to leave. Click here to read more.

Image: Objects are scattered and a solar panel damaged, more than a week after Jewish settlers attacked the occupied West Bank village of Wadi al Seeq, on Oct. 24, 2023. (Credit: Thomas Coex/AFP)

14:11 Beirut Time

CASUALTY UPDATE: The death toll in Gaza has climbed to 8,005 people, including 3,324 children, since Oct. 7, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the number of children killed as 3,342.

14:10 Beirut Time

UNIFIL update from south Lebanon

UNIFIL told L'Orient Today on Sunday that at around 10 p.m. on Saturday, "two mortar shells hit a UNIFIL base in the vicinity of the village of Houla, resulting in the injury of one peacekeeper who was promptly evacuated for medical treatment."

"The peacekeeper sustained minor injuries; he was immediately evacuated to the hospital at UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura and he is currently in stable condition," UNIFIL said.

UNIFIL compounds were hit twice on Saturday: a shell also hit the mission's headquarters in Naqoura on Saturday afternoon.

"UNIFIL expresses serious concern over these two attacks on our troops, who are tirelessly working 24/7 to restore stability in southern Lebanon and de-escalate this perilous situation ... Attacking UN peacekeepers is a crime, a violation of international law and must be condemned. Investigations have been launched into both incidents," UNIFIL added.

13:53 Beirut Time

The WHO chief has described a Palestinian Red Crescent report of evacuation threats to al-Quds hospital in Gaza as "deeply concerning," Reuters reports.

13:45 Beirut Time

The Israeli army has identified fallen rockets launched from Lebanon and retaliated with fire, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

According to Israeli media, artillery shells targeted Israeli army positions in the Shebaa Farms.

Al Jadeed's correspondent, meanwhile, reports that Israel had shelled al-Majidiyeh and Wadi Khansa, which are located opposite the Shebaa Farms.

13:40 Beirut Time

Image: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators gather in downtown Beirut at the call of Hamas and Jamaa Islamiya. (Credit: Mohammad Yassin)

13:26 Beirut Time

Image: A protester holds a sign reading, "Lebanon will always be in support of Palestine and its resistance. We will not back down." in downtown Beirut at a demonstration in support of Gaza on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023. (Credit: Mohammed Yassin/L'Orient Today.)

13:18 Beirut Time

Pope Francis has again called for a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas, Reuters reports, adding that the pontiff also renewed his call for the immediate release of hostages.

13:13 Beirut Time

The head of Hezbollah's "loyalty and resistance" parliamentary bloc Mohammad Raad has said that the party is fully prepared and ready to protect Lebanon and its people.

During a celebration held by Hezbollah in the town of Maifadoun in southern Lebanon to honor slain Hezbollah member Ali Adnan Artil, Raad stressed that Hezbollah is ready to achieve victory.

"Where we must move, we will move; where we must be, we will be; and where we must take our deterrent action, we will act within a vision that contributes to deterring aggression," Raad added.

12:24 Beirut Time

A demonstration in support of Palestine is underway in downtown Beirut. Hundreds of protesters have gathered at the Hamas- and Jamaa Islamiya-organized protest, according to live TV footage.

Image: Supporters of Jamaa Islamiya and Hamas protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Beirut, Lebanon, on Oct. 29, 2023. (Credit: Amr Alfiky/Reuters)

12:13 Beirut Time

Image: Palestinians carry food supplies near a United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA)-run warehouse in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Oct. 28, 2023. (Credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

11:50 Beirut Time

South Lebanon update: A correspondent for Hezbollah's Al Manar channel today reported that the “Misgav Am” Israeli site was targeted with "appropriate weapons."

Meanwhile, residents of the Israeli town of "Misgav" were asked to enter shelters, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Lebanese newspaper Annahar's correspondent later reported bombing on the outskirts of Odaisseh (Marjayoun district) following the targeting of surveillance devices at the Misgav Am site.

Israel has also fired 10 shells toward the town of Kfar Shuba in the Hasbaya area, as well as fares toward forests near the town of Halta, in southern Lebanon, the Lebanese state-run National News Agency reported.

L'Orient Today has reached out to UNIFIL for comment on these developments but has yet to receive a response.

11:47 Beirut Time

Israel will allow 'dramatic increase in aid to Gaza,' an official says

Israel will allow a dramatic increase in aid to Gaza in the coming days, Reuters quotes an official as saying, adding that he called on Palestinian civilians to head to what he described as a "humanitarian" zone in the south of the territory.

"In the coming week we were planning to increase dramatically the amount of assistance" headed for Gaza from Egypt, said Col. Elad Goren of Cogat, the Israeli Defense Ministry agency that coordinates with the Palestinians.

"We have marked a humanitarian zone in the southern Gaza Strip in the Khan Younis area ... we still recommend that the civilian population that evacuated will go to this zone," he told media during an online briefing.

Goren did not say whether the humanitarian zone was new or an existing area.

11:36 Beirut Time

 The UN chief has warned the situation in Gaza is declining rapidly as he repeated desperate appeals for a cease-fire to end the "nightmare" of bloodshed, AFP reports.

"The situation in Gaza is growing more desperate by the hour. I regret that instead of a critically needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on a visit to Nepal's capital Kathmandu.

11:13 Beirut Time

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi  says Israel's ongoing bombardment of Gaza "may force everyone" to act, in the latest warning issued by the Islamic Republic since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Click here to read more. 

Image: A handout picture provided by Iran's Presidency on Oct. 28, 2023, shows Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during an interview with the Qatari state-owned news television network Al-Jazeera in Tehran. (Credit: Handout / Iranian Presidency / AFP)

11:07 Beirut Time

The Kuwait Embassy in Lebanon has updated its travel advice, calling on all citizens to leave the country. Click here to read more.

11:05 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken a jab at his intelligence chiefs, saying they never warned him Hamas was planning its wide-scale attack on Oct. 7. His remarks have caused a political uproar and a rift within his war cabinet. Click here to read more.

Image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz (not pictured) in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (Credit: Abir Sultan/Pool via Reuters)

10:54 Beirut Time

BREAKING: The Palestinian Red Crescent says that Israeli authorities have asked that the al-Quds hospital be immediately evacuated, Reuters reports.

"Since this morning, there has been raids 50 meters away from the hospital," the Palestinian Red Crescent added in a statement on Facebook.

An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment when asked about the Palestinian Red Crescent statement during a media briefing.

10:48 Beirut Time

BREAKING: The Israeli army is increasing the number of its troops in Gaza, a military spokesperson announced, AFP reports.

The Israeli army raised the number of troops fighting inside the Gaza Strip, a spokesman said today, as the military stepped up its war on Hamas in the Palestinian territory.

"Overnight we increased the entry of IDF forces into the [Gaza] Strip, and they joined the forces already fighting there," Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a televised briefing.

10:48 Beirut Time

Image: People check the damage in the aftermath of Israeli bombing in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Oct. 29, 2023. (Credit: Mohammed Abed/AFP)

10:28 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has deleted a post on the X platform in which he blames Israeli security chiefs for the Hamas attack, following the reaction of several Israeli politicians, according to Haaretz.

"Netanyahu has crossed a red line," wrote opposition leader Yair Lapid, who also spoke on X. "While IDF soldiers and commanders fight valiantly against Hamas and Hezbollah, he tries to blame them instead of supporting them," Lapid continued.

Former Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi posted a message on X on Sunday asking Netanyahu to retract his tweet alleging that he had not been warned of a possible war with Hamas, adding, "We are at war."

On Saturday evening, Netanyahu asserted that he had received no warning of Hamas's intentions to launch a war against Israel, and laid the blame for the failure that led to the Oct. 7 attack at the feet of the security agencies, naming in particular the army's military intelligence chief, Aharon Haliva, and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar.

10:19 Beirut Time

Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati is in Qatar where he is meeting with the state's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. During his visit, he will also meet with the prime minister and foreign affairs minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani.

10:15 Beirut Time

Former prime minister and Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid asserts that Netanyahu received intelligence information prior to the Hamas attack.

Former prime minister and current Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has said on X (formerly Twitter) that, contrary to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claims, "on the eve of Yom Kippur, Sept. 20, I issued an unusual warning against a violent outbreak on several stages. The intelligence documents I relied on were also submitted to Netanyahu. Those who provided the intelligence are the same members of the security system whom Netanyahu now accuses of failing to warn."

10:03 Beirut Time

BREAKING: The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, says thousands in Gaza have broken into aid warehouses and distribution centers, taking flour and other supplies. 

"This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza," UNRWA said in a statement.

Aid supplies to Gaza have been choked since Israel began bombarding the Palestinian enclave in response to a deadly attack by its ruling militant group Hamas.

Image: Illustrative photo (Credit:  Mahmud HAMS/AFP)

09:08 Beirut Time

The Israeli army bombed the towns of Naqoura and Alma al-Chaab in southern Lebanon at dawn today, striking locations not far from a UNIFIL presence in the area, Abbass Awada, the head of the Naqoura municipality, confirmed to L'Orient Today.

"Shells fell in civilian areas. One of them landed on a house, but it was fortunately empty," Awada said. According to the official, the situation has since returned to calm this morning.

The bombings caused several fires in the densely wooded region. "The fires are still ongoing in hard-to-reach areas. We need helicopters to extinguish them, but the authorities are doing nothing. Usually, UNIFIL comes to our aid in such disasters," the municipality head said.

Image: Flares are fired from northern Israel over the southern Lebanese border village of Aita al-Shaab, on Oct. 28, 2023, amid intensifying cross-border skirmishes. (Credit: Fadel Senna/AFP)

09:01 Beirut Time

Image: People march as Pro-Palestinian protesters attend a "Flood Brooklyn for Gaza" demonstration, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, in New York, US, on Oct. 28, 2023. (Credit: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)

08:29 Beirut Time

The Israeli military today told civilians in Gaza to move to the south of the besieged territory, where it said humanitarian efforts "will be expanding."

"Civilians in northern Gaza and Gaza City should temporarily move south of Wadi Gaza to a safer area where they can receive water, food and medicine," IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said in a statement recorded on Saturday.

"Tomorrow, the humanitarian efforts to Gaza, led by Egypt and the United States, will be expanding," he added.

Although the video was posted on X, formerly Twitter, early Sunday morning, another IDF spokesperson told AFP that the video had been recorded on Saturday, and confirmed the humanitarian efforts would be expanding on Sunday.

08:21 Beirut Time

Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank overnight, the Palestinian Health Ministry said early this morning, Reuters reports.

08:17 Beirut Time

Israeli offensive intensifies, internet being restored in Gaza, negotiations around the release of hostages … For an update on all that has happened in the past 24 hours of the conflict, click here.

Image: (Credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)

07:55 Beirut Time

Good morning,

Thank you for joining us as we resume our live coverage of the Israel-Hamas war on day 23.