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Hezbollah loses 3 fighters, Berri schedules Parliament meeting, damning investigation of journalist’s death: Everything you need to know to start your Wednesday

Here’s what happened yesterday and what to expect today, Friday, Dec. 8

Hezbollah loses 3 fighters, Berri schedules Parliament meeting, damning investigation of journalist’s death: Everything you need to know to start your Wednesday

This picture released by the Israeli army shows troops on the ground in the Gaza Strip on Dec. 7, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (Credit: Israeli Army/Handout/AFP)

Catch up on yesterday's LIVE coverage of Day 61 of the Israel-Hamas war here.

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Hezbollah announced the deaths of three of its fighters yesterday, while Israeli media reported the party’s cross-border fire killed a civilian in northern Israel. These latest deaths raise the number of Hezbollah members killed in Lebanon since Oct. 7 to 82, according to party figures reported Wednesday. Israeli TV reported that a cross-border guided missile killed a civilian yesterday. The civilian was later identified as a 60-year-old farmer. Hezbollah announced several attacks on military targets in northern Israel. Israeli shelling was noted near the southern Lebanese areas of Aita al-Shaab, Halta, Kfar Kila, Khiam, Markaba, Naqoura, Wadi Slouki and Yaroun. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to turn Beirut and southern Lebanon into “Gaza [City] and Khan Younis” if Hezbollah launches an all-out war against Israel.

Separate investigations by Reuters and AFP concluded that an Israeli strike on southern Lebanon knowingly killed videojournalist Issam Abdallah and wounded six other journalists on Oct. 13. Reuters’s investigation said Abdallah, who was clearly marked as press in southern Lebanon, was killed by the first of two Israeli tank shells fired in quick succession. AFP’s findings aligned with Reuters's, noting that the type of shell revealed to have been fired against the journalists is used only by Israeli tanks. Rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch told AFP that Abdallah’s death merits a “war crime” investigation. Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the investigations will be appended to a complaint filed to the UN over Abdallah’s death. Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy denied that Israel targeted the journalists. An earlier investigation by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claimed that their “ballistic analysis” indicated that the strike that killed Abdallah and wounded his colleagues showed evidence of “precise targeting.”

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri scheduled a parliament bureau meeting for the coming Monday. Last week, Berri said he would convene Parliament before mid-December for a legislative session to decide the future of the Lebanese Army’s leadership. Current army chief Gen. Joseph Aoun is set to retire at the start of January with no apparent successor. Amid the ongoing presidential vacuum, the Lebanese Forces and Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai have backed a proposal to extend the retirement age for army commanders to 61. The Free Patriotic Movement opposes the extension. Last week, Defense Minister Maurice Slim said it would be illegal for him to delay the retirement of military personnel, especially the army chief, after previously telling Rai that picking a successor would not undermine the next president’s prerogatives. Several official positions remain occupied by interim chiefs amid the more than one-year-long presidential vacuum.

At least 17,177 people have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, the enclave’s health ministry said yesterday. Facing a pummeling of Israeli shells, around 100,000 people in the Jabalia refugee camp face a risk of starvation amid the interruption to aid delivery to the enclave, according to local authorities cited by the BBC. An Al Jazeera journalist said 22 members of his family were killed in strikes on the camp. AFP reported that minimal amounts of fuel “necessary to prevent a humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics” will be allowed into southern Gaza. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres sent an unprecedented letter to the UN Security Council warning that “even limited humanitarian aid” to Gaza would be made “impossible” due to the absence of shelters and the heavy Israeli shelling.

In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday:Banking sector wants to take state to court to recover BDL deposits

Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz

Catch up on yesterday's LIVE coverage of Day 61 of the Israel-Hamas war here.Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.Hezbollah announced the deaths of three of its fighters yesterday, while Israeli media reported the party’s cross-border fire killed a civilian in northern Israel. These latest deaths raise the number of Hezbollah members killed in Lebanon since Oct. 7 to...