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Israeli shelling of southern Lebanon on Wednesday night in Beit Yahoun (Bint Jbeil district) killed five people, including the son of Hezbollah MP Mohammad Raad, who leads the party's bloc in Parliament. The day prior, Israeli strikes killed four civilians, including an elderly woman and two journalists from the pan-Arab channel al-Mayadeen. The channel’s CEO Ghassan Ben Jeddo said field correspondent Farah Omar, cameraman Rabih Maamari, and companion Hussein Akil, who by some reports was a member of Hezbollah though the party denies this, were “deliberately targeted” by a strike on Tayr Harfa, Sour district. Yesterday, hundreds of relatives, friends and colleagues gathered around their coffins at Bir Hassan, where the channel’s headquarters are located. Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, prominent political figures and press syndicates denounced the attack. Also on Tuesday, an Israeli missile strike killed 80-year-old Laiqa Sarhan. Her seven-year-old granddaughter was in critical condition.
Israel’s bombardment of southern Lebanon last month killed Reuters video journalist Issam Abdallah. Hezbollah announced three separate attacks later the same day in response to the killing of the journalists in which it claims it hit an arms factory and caused casualties on Israeli army troops garrisoned in a house.
Southern Lebanon will be included in the four-day respite between Hamas and Israel, Nidaa al Watan reported citing “official sources” who claimed Hezbollah will adhere to the truce if the Israeli military does the same. Hezbollah announced the death of two of its fighters — one yesterday and another the day before, increasing the number of members killed since Oct. 7 to 84, by our count. On Tuesday, Israeli strikes killed five people in a car that reportedly contained two people from Tripoli in Lebanon's north, two Turkish citizens and a Hamas leader. Between Tuesday and yesterday, Israeli strikes fell around the southern Lebanese areas of al-Bayyada, Aita al-Shaab, Kfar Kila, Kfar Shouba, Khiam, Majdal Zoun, Mays al-Jabal, Mjadelzoon, Naqoura, Rab al-Thalathine, Rmaish, Shihin, Tayr Harfa, Wadi Hassan, Wazzani and Ziqbin.
UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka urged for restraint and a cessation of hostilities at the southern Lebanese border “through the full implementation of resolution 1701” during a meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati yesterday. Mikati also called on states with influence to pressure Israel to stop its aggressions after a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, with whom he agreed on the importance of a long-term ceasefire.
A hostage deal between Hamas and Israel, which also includes a four-day truce, has been postponed for at least a day the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said in a statement late Wednesday evening. Originally, it was scheduled to begin today after 47 days of shelling decimated Gaza, killing over 14,000 people, including more than 5,000 children. Fifty hostages from the estimated 240 people abducted by Hamas on Oct. 7 are set to be released over the coming four days as are 150 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Israel said it would add a day of truce per ten additional hostages released. During the pause in fighting Israel agreed to completely suspend air traffic over the south of the enclave and grant six-hour pauses to flights over its north. An increase in aid deliveries is expected for Gaza during this period. Nearly two-thirds of hospitals have shut down, several of which were shelled and raided by Israeli troops, leaving 30,000 wounded people reliant on only 10 hospitals according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Three doctors, including two members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), were killed Tuesday in a strike on al-Awda hospital. The same day, one day after a Jordanian field hospital arrived in Gaza, Israel ordered its evacuation, Reuters reported, a demand that Jordan refused to heed. Israel also laid siege to the Indonesian Hospital, a Gaza health ministry spokesperson told AFP Tuesday. Several prematurely born babies and over a hundred patients are thought to have died in al-Shifa hospital prior to its evacuation, following a stop to operations and its siege by Israeli troops.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “Eighty years ago, today”
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz