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Catch up on yesterday’s LIVE coverage of the Israel-Hamas war here.
Hezbollah launched an unprecedented volume of attacks on Israel Friday beginning this weekend’s intensified cross-border clashes during which dozens of southern Lebanese villages’ outskirts were shelled. A man and his mother were hospitalized yesterday for mental shock after narrowly escaping an Israeli bombing while driving from their border village of Oddeisseh to Kafr Kila in Marjayoun. A Saturday Israeli drone strike on an aluminum factory in Nabatieh ignited a fire and led to the hospitalization of two civilians. As of yesterday, Alfa’s telecommunication services were completely cut in the village of Mays al-Jabal due to Israeli shelling. Reuters reported that Lebanese shepherds faced steep costs as a result of the shelling targeting their grazing areas. Hezbollah announced 13 separate attacks on northern Israel Friday, some of which were carried out with explosive-laden drones. The party over the next two days continued to announce new strikes, which it claimed were direct hits and inflicted damage and casualties on the Israeli army. Hezbollah executive council chief Hashem Safieddine said there was currently no possibility of “stopping any front or reducing pressure.” Israeli military officials said they were retaliating towards the sources of fire and attacking the party’s infrastructure. Israeli airstrikes, drone strikes, helicopter-fired missiles and artillery shells fell in the surroundings of: Aaitaroun, Odaisseh, Al-Dhayra, al-Jabine, al-Tayeb, Aita al-Shaab, Alma al-Shaab, Bani Haiyyan, Beni Hayan, Blida, Burj al-Moulouk, Dhayra, Hanin, Houla, Jibbayn, Kfar Kila, Labbouneh, Markaba, Maroun al-Ras, Marwahin, Mays al-Jabal, Naqoura, Qabrikha, Qlayaa, Rab al-Thalathine, Rmaish, Shihine, Tallousa, Teir Harfa, Wadi Hounine, Wadi Saluka, Yarin, Yaroun, Yater.
Torrential rain stranded motorists overturned a UN peacekeeping military vehicle and sent refuse streaming through flooded streets across Lebanon. The intemperate weather is expected to continue until this morning, according to the meteorological services at Beirut airport. Temperatures are expected to drop significantly, and snow is expected at altitudes of 2,000 meters and above.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) demanded “accountability” in the Dec. 14, 2022 attack that killed Irish peacekeeper Sean Rooney and injured three others after one suspect was released on bail for health reasons and others remain at large. UNIFIL’s statement said they were informed by the Lebanese Military Court of Mohammad Ayad’s conditional release “due to his deteriorating health,” noting that he remains required to appear at a court session on Dec. 15. The military court charged five Hezbollah members for last December’s attack on a UNIFIL convoy in al-Aqbiya, southern Lebanon. Progressive Socialist Party head Walid Joumblatt called Ayad’s release a “mistake.”
The Beirut Court of Appeal suspended an eviction order against fugitive automotive tycoon Carlos Ghosn pending its review of the ruling and the appeal filed against it, a judicial source told L’Orient Today. Ghosn was allowed to remain in his Ashrafieh residence despite the ruling’s initial eviction deadline of Nov. 20. The court did not give a definitive time frame for its study of the two cases: Nissan-affiliated Phoinos, which claims ownership of the residence and alleges Ghosn is trespassing and the former Renault-Nissan chief’s appeal claiming he has a legal right to his dwelling.
A June raid on the Paris home of Marianne Hoayek, ex-assistant to former Banque du Liban governor Riad Salameh, uncovered a plot to torpedo French and Lebanese corruption probes into the central bank chief, French online outlet Mediapart reported. A safe in Hoayek’s home contained notes, which she allegedly admitted to writing and showing to Salameh, detailing an unrealized plan with 20.45 million euros worth of bribes to derail the case. Mediapart, quoting Hoayek, claimed former Lebanese minister Wiam Wahab concocted the scheme. Wahab denied any involvement in the project when contacted by the French investigative media. Salameh is being investigated in Lebanon and at least five European jurisdictions for allegedly embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of commissions from the central bank and hiding them in European properties. In July, the French judiciary charged Hoayek with criminal conspiracy and money laundering, making her the third of Salameh’s associates to come under international scrutiny. Salameh, meanwhile, is the subject of an Interpol red notice.
More than 13,000 people, including 5,000 children, have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to Friday figures from the enclave’s health ministry cited by Reuters. On Saturday, the Gaza Health Ministry said at least 50 people were killed by a strike on a UNRWA school in northern Gaza housing displaced people. Hamas armed wing spokesperson Abu Obeida on Saturday said the group lost contact with its members guarding hostages, leaving their fate undetermined. On Friday, the Israeli army found the bodies of two hostages — killed by Israeli bombardment according to the Palestinian Islamist movement. Minor, logistical challenges remain to a hostage deal, according to Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. First responders were trapped in the al-Ahli hospital amid gunfire and shelling, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said Saturday. The siege of the al-Shifa hospital continued, as hundreds of people were forced to flee the medical facility Saturday and 31 prematurely born babies were evacuated yesterday in preparation for their transfer to Egypt. The World Health Organization yesterday described the hospital as a “death zone.” The first fuel shipment since Oct. 7 entered Gaza on Saturday after shortages interrupted humanitarian operations, hospitals’ functioning, telecoms networks and other vital services. UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini announces that "the Israeli Authorities approved only half of the daily minimum requirements of fuel for humanitarian operations in Gaza." Cyprus said it was close to a deal with Israel to open a humanitarian corridor to send aid to Gaza, while France vowed to aid evacuations from the enclave and to send it additional medical supplies and another hospital ship. Houthi rebels in Yemen seized an Israeli cargo ship, the group said in a statement cited by AFP, following up on a threat yesterday to all ships owned or operated by Israeli companies or carrying the Israeli flag.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from over the weekend: “'We went to the south. Now they are asking us to leave. Where do we go?': Israeli offensive in south Gaza will put civilians in crosshairs”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz