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Heavy Israeli bombings, building collapse, missing children found: Everything you need to know to start your Monday

Here is what happened over the weekend and what to expect today, Monday, Feb. 12.

Heavy Israeli bombings, building collapse, missing children found: Everything you need to know to start your Monday

A woman inspects the damage due to Israeli strikes on the southern Lebanese village of Houla near the border on Feb. 11, 2024, amid ongoing cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. (Credit: Hasan Fneich/AFP)

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Catch up on our LIVE coverage of Day 126, Day 127 and Day 128 of the Israel-Hamas war.

Israeli attacks killed and wounded several people during separate strikes on southern Lebanon over the weekend.

An Israeli attack on Shihine, Sour destroyed a house and killed two people, confirmed to be Amal Movement members by a party source to L’Orient Today. According to eyewitnesses, ambulances belonging to the Scouts of the Islamic Mission association, affiliated with Amal, narrowly escaped Israeli artillery fire on their way to the scene of the impact.

An Israeli drone strike attempting to assassinate a senior Hamas official killed two people and injured three others in Jarda, Chouf, on Saturday. It is the second deepest strike inside Lebanon and the first attack in the Chouf district since the beginning of the hostilities on Oct. 8. Hezbollah confirmed that one of its members was killed in the strike.

An Israeli drone strike wounded a Hezbollah commander Thursday, after which the party fired nearly 30 rockets at Israel. A Nabatieh resident told L’Orient Today’s correspondent that after a first strike failed to hit the car, the two men fled before the drone hit the vehicle in a second attack.

Hezbollah announced the death of three of its fighters Saturday, raising the party’s death toll since Oct. 8 to 188. The state-run National News Agency reported that an Israeli attack on Houla, Marjayoun killed one person and wounded nine others.

Israeli attacks damaged and destroyed several buildings across southern Lebanon without causing casualties. One strike destroyed an Amal Movement headquarters in Maroun al-Ras, slightly wounding inhabitants in the vicinity. An Israeli drone strike on Khiam Saturday injured three people.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned Israel that it “will never be able to fight on two fronts,” claiming that a “large-scale attack on Lebanon would mark the end of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.” In a meeting with French diplomats, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Thursday listed among Lebanon’s priorities the return of the more than 86,000 residents displaced from border villages and the end of Israel’s violations along with its occupation of Lebanese territory (including the northern part of Ghajar and the Shebaa farms).

Three children missing for hours Friday were found safe after torrential rain again wreaked havoc on Wadi Khaled, Akkar and its surroundings, flooding hundreds of Syrian refugee tents and dozens of homes. Chief official of the region’s Amayer and Rajm Issa villages said the weekend’s flooding was the “harshest and most painful,” after repeated flooding this year killed at least one child, left more than one thousand people displaced and devastated farmers’ livelihoods.

Nearly three hundred Lebanese Army retirees protested outside the Grand Serail to reiterate their demand for improved compensation in conjunction with a cabinet meeting. Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Saturday announced a series of meetings with security force representatives and willing representatives of military retirees this week to discuss compensation after noticing discrepancies between military and civil salaries in the public sector.

A five-story building in Choueifat collapsed yesterday ten minutes after its residents were evacuated. “Residents felt a tremor and the building began to pitch, the tiles and windows began to crack,” the owner of a store at the bottom of the building told L’Orient Today. Amal Movement MP Ghazi Zeaiter has called on the authorities "to house the building's inhabitants as quickly as possible." Structural failures have repeatedly caused partial or total collapses in buildings across Lebanon. The Lebanese Association of Properties (LPA), claimed in an Oct. 10 statement that there were 16-18,000 buildings at risk of collapse in Lebanon, further stressed by overdue maintenance works, climate change and improper drainage. The statement added that most buildings built before 2005 do not conform to international safety standards. LPA head Andira Zouhairy said “harsh” weather conditions can heighten the risk of collapse.

A depositor failed to forcibly retrieve his funds from the Abbasiyeh, Sour branch of Fenicia Bank after threatening to set fire to the premises on Thursday. A Fenicia Bank spokesperson told L’Orient Today that the depositor was scheduled to visit the bank on the day of the incursion to sign documents allowing him to benefit from central bank Circular No. 158 — allowing him to withdraw $400 monthly. Banque du Liban circulars have mediated informal banking restrictions in place since the onset of the crisis in October 2019 and allowed depositors access to small amounts of their foreign currency funds. Facing these restrictions, depositors have attempted local and overseas legal action against banks while others, often backed by depositors’ associations, have launched hold-ups attempting to forcibly recover their funds.

The Lebanese Army on Friday announced the release of an Iraqi national near the Lebanese-Syrian border nine days after his abduction. The army also said it arrested three people allegedly involved in the kidnapping. Last December, the Lebanese Army announced finding the remains of an Iraqi tourist reported missing ten days before. At least two Iraqi citizens were freed from kidnappers in Lebanon last year.

At least 28,176 people have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to the latest figures from the enclave’s health ministry.

With more than one million people crowded in Rafah after successive displacements by the Israeli military’s expansion in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that Israel would attack the enclave’s southernmost city while promising civilians “safe passage,” AFP reported. Palestinians speaking to AFP found the promise dubious, noting that Rafah, previously touted as safe, has been the site of Israeli strikes and is now facing an imminent invasion — against which the UN, the US, Germany, Saudi Arabia and other international actors expressed concerns.

Egyptian officials and a Western diplomat told AP Egypt is threatening to suspend its peace treaty with Israel if an Israeli ground offensive commences in Rafah. Israeli strikes on Rafah have previously caused damage in Egypt

A senior Hamas official, as reported by Reuters yesterday, warned that an invasion of Rafah would torpedo hostage negotiations. On Friday, an official cited by AFP expressed Hamas’s openness to continue negotiations for a hostage deal after Netanyahu rebuffed the group’s counterproposal demanding a 135-day respite and total Israeli withdrawal. Hamas said two hostages have been killed and eight others were seriously wounded over the past four days by Israeli attacks, warning that abductees face increasingly dangerous conditions “in light of the inability to provide them with appropriate treatment.”

In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from over the weekend: “‘Endangered Voices campaign': When endangered animals speak to the public

Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz

Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.Catch up on our LIVE coverage of Day 126, Day 127 and Day 128 of the Israel-Hamas war.Israeli attacks killed and wounded several people during separate strikes on southern Lebanon over the weekend. An Israeli attack on Shihine, Sour destroyed a house and killed two people, confirmed to be Amal Movement members by a party source to...