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Sniper kills Lebanese civilian, EDL scales back, US charges Hezbollah operative: Everything you need to know to start your Thursday

Here’s what happened yesterday and what to expect today, Thursday, Dec. 21

Sniper kills Lebanese civilian, EDL scales back, US charges Hezbollah operative: Everything you need to know to start your Thursday

Smoke billows on the village of Mais a-Jabal, along Lebanon's southern border with northern Israel following an Israeli bombardment on Dec. 20, 2023, with the Israeli Manara Kibbutz seen in the background.. (Credit: AFP)

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Catch up on yesterday’s LIVE coverage of Day 75 of the Israel-Hamas war here.

Israeli attacks killed two civilians in southern Lebanon yesterday. Shelling on Markaba killed a 70-year-old man and injured others, causing a level of destruction severe enough to hinder rescue efforts. Earlier in the day, Israeli sniper fire killed a civilian whose car stalled on a road in southern Lebanon, L’Orient Today’s correspondent reported. Medics and a local official said that Israeli snipers opened fire on the civilian as he was inspecting his broken-down car while traveling with another man on a road near Wazzani, Khiam and Kfar Kila in the Marjayoun district. Meanwhile, among continued announcements of cross-border strikes, Hezbollah yesterday said it forced Israeli helicopters to leave the airspace near the border through surface-to-air missile attacks. Israeli shelling hit a house in Blida, once again striking near the funeral procession of a slain Hezbollah member. Hezbollah announced the deaths of two of its fighters yesterday morning, raising the number of party members killed since Oct. 8 to 117, by our count.

Public electricity provider Electricité du Liban scaled back production to maintain key infrastructure after failing to barter Iraqi oil for power-plant-compatible fuel, the state utility said in a statement Tuesday. The Energy Ministry has postponed its call for tenders until next Tuesday, EDL said, explaining it had expected fuel resupply between Dec. 6 and 10. EDL stated it hopes to keep production at 200 MW — less than a tenth of what is needed to meet demand — in order to continue powering the country’s airport and other main infrastructure until January.

Alleged Hezbollah operative Samuel Salman al-Reda was charged by a US court for coordinating the party’s activities in South America, Asia and Lebanon, including the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. A US court unsealed the indictment documents naming Reda, whom prosecutors claim is based in Lebanon. In 2019, the US State Department sanctioned Reda and offered a $7 million reward for information on his whereabouts.

The Episcopal Commission for Catholic Schools in Lebanon announced that its affiliated institutions would begin a strike today to contest a law passed by Parliament last week amending schools’ functioning and budgets. The commission’s statement said the strike would continue indefinitely, denouncing "the arbitrary, ill-considered, and impossible-to-implement legislation … that did not take into account the repercussions on the educational staff and students.

An anticipated UN Security Council vote on a cease-fire in Gaza was postponed again yesterday, this time until today, a source told L'Orient Today, while the enclave’s Health Ministry's latest figures report that at least 20,000 people have been killed since Oct. 7. The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported severe overcrowding in the southern Gaza Strip governorate of Rafah, where the population density has increased fourfold since Oct. 7. “Thousands of people line up before aid distribution centers in need of food, water, shelter, and protection,” the agency said. Read a summary of events from day 75 of the Hamas-Israel war here.

In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “Who is behind Predatory Sparrow’s cyberattack on Iranian service stations?”

Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz

Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.Catch up on yesterday’s LIVE coverage of Day 75 of the Israel-Hamas war here.Israeli attacks killed two civilians in southern Lebanon yesterday. Shelling on Markaba killed a 70-year-old man and injured others, causing a level of destruction severe enough to hinder rescue efforts. Earlier in the day, Israeli sniper fire killed a...