Catch up on yesterday's LIVE coverage of Day 61 of the Israel-Hamas war here.
Cross-border skirmishes between Hezbollah and Israel continued yesterday after overnight Israeli shelling hit the “town center, public square, and targeted several homes” in Mais al-Jabal, the head of the municipality of the town, Abdul-Monem Choukeir told L’Orient Today’s correspondent. Intense overnight bombardments were also noted on the outskirts of Houla and Wadi Slouk. A delegation from the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishop headed by Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai is scheduled to visit Southern Lebanon to “express solidarity” with the area’s residents and the displaced people. Several officials have toured southern Lebanon since the start of the border clashes. Israeli strikes hit near the southern Lebanese towns of Aita al-Shaab, Jibbayn, Halta, Houla, Kfar Shouba, Khiam, Kounin, Majdal Zoun, Naqoura, Tayr Harfa, Yaroun. Hezbollah announced 11 attacks targeting Israeli military positions in northern Israel. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant threatened military action if “international political arrangement” fails to remove Hezbollah from beyond the Litani River, as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
An Israeli drone strike on Mais al-Jabal, southern Lebanon, killed one person and injured two others, security sources told L’Orient Today, bringing the number of people killed in Lebanon since Oct. 7 to 97, according to the Lebanese Health Ministry. According to the ministry’s latest emergency report, 406 people have been injured as of Tuesday. and, citing Nov. 30 figures from the International Organization for Migration, 55,185 people have been displaced. Blunt trauma caused the brunt of injuries, according to the ministry’s figures, followed by blast injuries and chemical exposure. Lebanon has repeatedly decried Israel’s use of white phosphorus munitions in its attacks on southern Lebanon. “Hospitals don't differentiate between the dead when it comes to the count," a Health Ministry spokesperson told L’Orient Today, explaining that the death toll includes civilians and militants. A Hezbollah spokesperson told L’Orient Today that since the start of the cross-border clashes, 79 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in Lebanon, along with two people from the Lebanese Resistance Brigade, a party-affiliated paramilitary group, and one who was in the party’s youth scouts. The party added that seven of its members have been killed in Syria.
Residents of Shmestar, Bekaa held a funeral for Lebanese Army Sergeant Abdel Karim al-Mekdad, who was killed in an Israeli strike Tuesday. His brother, Ali al-Mekdad, stepped forward and presented his brother's death as a dedication to the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, who has vowed to fight Israel, L’Orient Today’s correspondent in the area reported. The Israeli army, noting that the Lebanese Army was “not the target of the strike,” said it “expresses regret at the incident” adding that it was “under review.” France expressed its “deep concern” over Mekdad’s killing and reaffirmed its support for the Lebanese Army.
Rafik Hariri University Hospital employees will hold a one-day strike today to protest a delay in receiving their salaries, a statement from the committee of the hospital’s employees and contract workers read, as reported by the state-run National News Agency (NNA). A protest will be held inside the hospital, but service will continue for in-patients. The committee said this is an initial step and hoped "not to be forced to take steps towards escalation in the coming days" if salaries are not received. Delayed salaries have regularly caused protests among public service employees in Lebanon.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) introduced the Lebanese manousheh to its intangible cultural heritage list. Lebanese Commission to UNESCO chair Sahar Baassiri welcomed the commission’s successful application. The application cited the Lebanese flatbread’s prevalence in Lebanon across “all corners of the globe” via the Lebanese diaspora. Other Lebanese intangible cultural heritage included in UNESCO’s list is Arabic calligraphy and al-Zajal, a form of recited or sung poetry. Read more about the Manousheh as part of L’Orient Today’s “Sa7tein” series here.
Humanitarian aid for Gaza can only be distributed in Rafah, near the crossing to Egypt from which the limited entry of supplies has taken place. The rest of the enclave is quasi-unreachable, according to the World Food Programme, amid intensified Israeli military operations. Noting further displacements, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said the saturation of shelters leaves people fleeing Israeli attacks with nowhere safe to turn. Reuters earlier this week reported Palestinian testimonies of strikes hitting areas claimed to be safe by the Israeli military in their evacuation orders. Early yesterday, the Israeli army also claimed to have killed "most of [Hamas’] senior commanders" in northern Gaza and later in the day said it encircled the home of Yahya Sinwar, the group’s Gaza leader. Israel and Hamas reported intense clashes near Khan Younis, the enclave’s second-largest city, which coincided with heavy bombardment including strikes that killed several people in the Jabalia and Nousseirat refugee camps. According to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, 75 Palestinian journalists and media workers were killed by the Israeli army in the past two months.
In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: "How Hamas transformed Lebanon into its rear base"
Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz