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Mikati plans for stability, Health Ministry figures for the south, private school strike suspended: Everything you need to know to start your Wednesday

Here’s what happened yesterday and what to expect today, Wednesday, Jan. 17.

Mikati plans for stability, Health Ministry figures for the south, private school strike suspended: Everything you need to know to start your Wednesday

A Palestinian woman reacts in front of a destroyed building in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, on Jan. 16, 2024 amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Credit: AFP)

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Catch up on yesterday’s LIVE coverage of Day 102 of the Israel-Hamas war here.

Lebanon is “preparing for long-term stability” in the south, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati told al-Hadath as clashes between Hezbollah and Israel continued after more than 100 days of cross-border attacks. Earlier in the day, Mikati told Al Jazeera that “the Americans have already started” working on diplomatic solutions to end the border clashes while emphasizing the necessity of “a cease-fire in Gaza.” Israeli shelling was reported across Lebanon while Hezbollah continued to announce attacks on northern Israeli military targets. Israeli attacks caused damage to several houses in Lebanese border villages.

The Lebanese Health Ministry’s latest report estimates that Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon have killed 147 people and injured 503 others since Oct. 8 amid cross-border clashes between Hezbollah and Israel. The ministry figures do not differentiate between militants and civilians. L’Orient Today’s count estimates that at least 158 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in Lebanon and Syria since Oct. 8. The ministry’s report states that blunt trauma from Israeli bombardment caused 44 percent of injuries, another 33 percent were attributed to blast injuries and 18 percent were caused by chemical exposure — Israel has repeatedly fired white phosphorus shells. International Organization for Migration (IOM) figures cited by the ministry say that border fighting has displaced 82,012 people from southern Lebanon.

Teachers’ Union President Nehme Mahfoud canceled a private school strike scheduled for today, giving a two-day deadline for the institutions to reach an agreement with educators to multiply their retirement pensions sevenfold. “Retired private school teachers are literally starving,” Mahfoud told L’Orient Today, calling the pension increase a “compromise” after private schools opposed paying eight percent of teachers’ salaries in dollars. The last school year was mired by long periods of strike by public school teachers demanding updated salaries after the ongoing economic crisis decimated their earnings. UNICEF last year said the interrupted schooling from the strike could cause “large and persistent damage” and in a report later the same year warned up to fifteen percent of households would have their children’s education interrupted.

The Gaza Health Ministry says that Israeli attacks since Oct. 7 have killed at least 24,285 people in the enclave. Al-Jazeera reported a surge in shelling and a redeployment of the Israeli military to northern Gaza, where the army had previously claimed to have accomplished most goals with plans to switch to more targeted strikes. The same day, Israel announced that it would shift away from “intensive” fighting in the southern part of the enclave.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that at least 378,000 people in Gaza face catastrophic levels of starvation and that 939,000 people are at emergency levels. Qatar announced an agreement reached between warring sides for the delivery of medicine to hostages and aid into the Strip.

In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “First a rainstorm, then floodwaters, now an Akkar village covered in mud

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 102 of the Israel-Hamas war here.Lebanon is “preparing for long-term stability” in the south, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati told al-Hadath as clashes between Hezbollah and Israel continued after more than 100 days of cross-border attacks. Earlier in the day, Mikati told Al...