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Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that the country’s army can reach anywhere Israel wishes to reach — "in Lebanon and beyond," Haaretz reports.
According to Gallant, who made these comments while visiting soldiers from the Golani Brigade in northern Israel, "there is a realistic possibility that we will have to return the northern residents to their homes forcefully."
"This means creating a different security situation by force, and that could lead to anything. If the division presents itself on the northern border, we can reach anywhere we decide to go in Lebanon, and beyond that."
Here are the latest updates from southern Lebanon:
• Hezbollah announced that it hit the headquarters of the Israeli Zabdin barracks with guided missiles at 8 p.m.
• Three Israeli artillery shells fell on the outskirts of Halta and Kfar Shuba, Hasbaya district, a security source told our correspondent in the South.
• Israeli artillery shelling targeted an area between the villages of Alma al-Shaab and Dhaira, both in Sour district, according to residents.
• Israel fired flares over Labouneh, Sour district, residents told L'Orient Today. The flares landed in a forest, causing a fire.
The leader of Yemen's Houthi rebels announced that the group had successfully prevented all Israel-linked ships from passing through the Gulf of Aden — which runs along the southern cost of Yemen — throughout all of the last week.
"This is a real victory," said Abdul Malik al-Houthi in a televised speech cited by Reuters.
Yesterday, the World Bank and IMF warned that the war on Gaza and the Houthis actions, carried out in solidarity with Palestinians in the besieged Strip, could have serious consequences for an already weakened global economy, which aligns with the Houthis' stated goal of using the vital shipping passage as leverage for pressuring Israel to end its war on Gaza.
The Houthi attacks on commercial shipping vessels have not resulted in any casualties while in Yemen, around 100 people have been killed by joint American-British strikes.
The Israeli army's radio station announced on X that "an Israeli aircraft crashed tonight in Lebanese territory due to a technical malfunction" and that the "incident is being investigated."
Hezbollah announced earlier today that it "managed to control" an Israeli Skylark drone and claimed it was in good quality.
It is not yet clear if the two incidents are related.
France says it's imposing sanctions against 28 Israeli settlers who it accuses of committing human rights abuses against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank, AFP reports.
The 28 individuals are now banned from entering French territory, the foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that "unacceptable" violence perpetrated by settlers against the Palestinian population had increased in recent months.
The French announcement comes after the United Kingdom on Monday said it was sanctioning four "extremist Israeli settlers" accused of committing human rights abuses against Palestinians in the West Bank. The United States had already announced punitive measures against one of them, as well as three others, on Feb. 1 over what it called "intolerable" violence.
Since Oct. 7, Israeli troops and settlers have killed at least 390 Palestinians in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah.
The Amal-affiliated al-Risala Scout Association announced that "a civil defense center, ambulances, and a rescue vehicle were severely damaged" as a result of the air raid that targeted the southern Lebanese village of Mais al-Jabal, Marjayoun district, earlier today. The association says that there were no casualties from the attack.
South Africa says it asked the World Court to consider whether Israel's plan to extend its offensive in Gaza to the city of Rafah requires additional emergency measures to protect Palestinians' rights, Reuters reports.
Last month, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent its troops from committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
Last week, Netanyahu announced the military’s plan to expand its ground assault into Rafah, where over one million Palestinians have sought refuge from the offensive that has laid waste to much of the Gaza Strip since the war began.
"In a request submitted to the court yesterday [Feb. 12], the South African government said it was gravely concerned that the unprecedented military offensive against Rafah, as announced by the State of Israel, has already led to and will result in further large-scale killing, harm and destruction," a statement issued by South Africa's presidency said.
Updates from southern Lebanon:
• Hezbollah announced that at 2 p.m. they "managed to control" an Israeli Skylark drone and claimed it was in good quality. This is the second Skylark drone, made by Elbit Systems, an Israeli weapons manufacturing company, that Hezbollah has managed to intercept. The first was on Saturday.
• The Israeli army targeted a house in the southern Lebanese border town of Yarine, in Sour district, residents told L'Orient Today’s correspondent in the south.
• Hezbollah announced an attack which it says took place at 3 p.m. against an Isreali military brigade facing the southern Lebanese border village of Markaba and said its fighters "directly hit" the target.
Hassan Nasrallah's speech has finished.
Nasrallah: “Our responsibility is to prevent aggression on Lebanon, and we will respond to every attack! To those who threaten to widen the war, we say: If you widen, we will widen. Our Resistance always confronts the enemy, without hesitation or trembling. The enemy has no other choice but to acknowledge its defeat and stop its attacks on Gaza.”
Nasrallah: “I want to conclude like this: All options are on the table, but we are fighting in the South and keeping an eye on Gaza. We hoped that once the cease-fire is declared in Gaza, the attacks would stop in Lebanon. However, the Israeli Minister of War said that this will not be the case, that even if they stop their attacks on Gaza, they will continue to strike Lebanon. Well, we welcome him! [Yoav] Gallant said he won't stop, so don't stop! We won't stop either!”
Nasrallah: “It's the same for cameras. With them Israel can see cars on the road without even needing men on the ground. These cameras are linked to the internet and we ask everyone who has one in front of their houses to disconnect it. It facilitates enemy attacks."
Nasrallah: “We also need to be careful on social media about those who provide information directly to the Israelis. For example, the other day [Thursday], when a strike targeted a car in Nabatieh — immediately, some claimed, ‘it's this leader, this commander who was targeted.’ But by doing that, we serve Israel. We cannot provide information to the enemy like that!”
The strike last Thursday targeted a Hezbollah military leader in Nabatieh, north of the Litani River, where strikes are less common. According to L’Orient Today’s reported in the south, two people were in the care when it was targeted and were injured by the attack.
Nasrallah: “Some individuals active on social media, whom I won't name, claim that the war will expand to Lebanon. Who benefits from such statements? Some are calling the people of the South, threatening them, telling them to evacuate, that Israel will attack. Whom do they serve? We must be wary of these practices, which are part of psychological warfare.”
“When you receive such calls, be cautious. If you have doubts, contact Hezbollah officials. And don't believe everything you read on social media. Some only seek to intimidate you.”
Nasrallah: "We will address everything concerning the presidential issue and the political exploitation of events at the national level on Friday."
Earlier in his speech, Nasrallah announced he will be giving another speech on Friday. We will have LIVE coverage of that here on L'Orient Today.
Nasrallah: “I don't want to delve into a discussion now about the proposals these delegations have made and are conveying to the leaders Prime Minister Najib Mikati and [Speaker of Parliament] Nabih Berri. What I want to say is that these delegations come with Israeli statements and try to intimidate us. They want to intimidate us by saying that Israel will start a war, but if the Israelis really wanted war, they would have started it from the beginning.”
👉 Read about when Lebanon’s foreign minister reported his French counterpart had "warned us that the Israelis might start a war."
Nasrallah: “Here we come to our fifth point. All the delegations that have come to Lebanon, and continue to come — these delegations have only one goal: to ensure Israel's security, its protection, and the end of firing towards Israeli territory. Their sole interest is to bring back the inhabitants to the north of occupied Palestine! They take the Israeli roadmap, word for word, and transmit it to Lebanon. For them, the issue of the still-occupied areas, Ghajar, the Shebaa Farms, must be negotiated later, God willing. Their priority is Israel's security.”
In recent weeks, there have been several diplomatic visits to Lebanon, notably by the Italian, British, and French foreign ministers, as the international community expresses a growing concern about regional escalation. Following his visit last week, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne indicated that he had made "proposals" to avoid an open conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
Nasrallah: “In reality, the forces of resistance are everywhere. They can be found within Hezbollah, the Amal movement [led by Lebanese Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri], and Palestinian factions. We rely on the courage and strength of the men and women of the Resistance, both young and old. Today, the front has been open for 129 consecutive days. We are inflicting losses on the enemy, and this trial has proven the success of what we are doing. It has demonstrated Lebanon's strength during this period.”
Nasrallah: "In southern Lebanon, an overwhelming majority of people support the resistance effort, some even being part of it, and this transcends sectarian divides. Their opinions and will must be respected. They are the ones who have suffered from Israeli aggression since 1948! They have seen with their own eyes that what protects them is the Resistance, that it is the reason they can return home after being displaced. And that's why they embrace this battle, why they send their children to the front lines, even if they are an only child! You must know the will of the people of the south, their strength, their loyalty, their sense of sacrifice.”
The way Nasrallah is speaking about the population of the south could be interpreted as being an indirect response to a homily by Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai that sparked controversy two weeks ago. The patriarch had stated that the situation in southern Lebanon, a region emptied of its population and the scene of almost daily fighting between Hezbollah and the Israeli army, was due to "imposed politics" on the region's inhabitants, even though the border area is primarily controlled by Hezbollah.
Nasrallah: “Now, our fourth point: Those who bear, primarily, our efforts are the people on the southern front, with whom the Lebanese people must feel solidarity. They are the ones who see their homes being bombed, their children becoming martyrs. They are the ones who witness the confrontation, the deaths, and are displaced. A large number of victims come from the southern front, from Yarine, Aitaroun, Yaroun, etc. They are people from the region.”
The fighters killed by Israel in southern Lebanon are often from the locality where they were killed, according to information mentioned by the party in statements announcing their deaths.
Nasrallah: "Some people in Lebanon are influenced by this blind discourse. But we must prevent it from turning into a sectarian conflict, as it benefits Israel. Gradually, the subject turns into a confrontation between Christians and Muslims. What is related to Israel should not become a religious or sectarian issue."
"There are Muslim and Christian martyrs, Muslim and Christian fighters. Just as among the ranks of traitors and those who collaborate with Israel, there are both Muslims and Christians. Lahd's army [the southern Lebanon army that collaborated with Israel during the Civil War] included Muslims, Christians, Druze, and so on."
Nasrallah: "Those who think like that, with preconceived views, will say that in 2006 [during the July war between Israel and Hezbollah], we lost. But border security, maintaining peace, deterring Israeli aggression ... all of this is the result of the resistance's efforts. Some say that Resolution 1701 [of the UN Security Council, which ended the 2006 war] protects us. But it is rather the battle fought by the resistance that has protected us."
Nasrallah: "Our second point concerns our patriotic and national responsibility, linked to Lebanon. Israeli aggressions began before 1948 and were not limited to Lebanon. Israel's presence has always been a problem for all countries in the region.
A strong Israel, which believed it could colonize Lebanon, was a danger to Lebanon. The same goes for a restrained, deterred Israel, which can also threaten Lebanon. What happens in Gaza concerns the Lebanese national interest, as well as that of Jordan and all countries. And it concerns Lebanon first and foremost."
Nasrallah: "On our Lebanese front, as on others, we adhere to our moral duty, our religious, and humanitarian responsibility, for which we will have to answer on the Day of Resurrection. Do not blame us for this! Success, heroism, the presence of our fighters in these very difficult circumstances, this is what we must do."
Nasrallah: "My first point concerns what we have achieved in Lebanon over the past 129 days, as well as what has been accomplished on other support fronts. These actions have been carried out under our humanitarian responsibility. It is the responsibility of everyone [to support Palestinians]. In Gaza, [Israeli] attacks continue to target mosques, churches, and hospitals. This should shake the conscience of the entire world."
⚡ Nasrallah announces he will speak again on Friday.
Nasrallah: “Today, I want to focus more on the situation on the Lebanese front. On Friday, if I am still alive, we will address other topics.”
Nasrallah: “The past 130 days have been marked by Zionist aggression, barbarism, and massacres. They have also been 130 days of heroism on the part of Palestinian resistance fighters.”
“The past 129 days have also been marked by support, strength, and solidarity with the Palestinians, whether on the front lines in Lebanon, Yemen, or Iraq. These efforts will continue as long as Zionist aggression persists.”
Nasrallah: “We have the responsibility to protect our successes and victories by continuing the struggle, jihad, and perpetually supporting the resistance. The wounded, the prisoners, the missing, their families, and the martyrs are the ones who best protect our successes, as they pay the price in blood.”
Nasrallah: “First, I would like to address the wounded men and women, on this day. They must bear all the burdens today. For at least 129 days, on top of the list of martyrs we have had those who have been wounded since Oct. 8th. The aid, care, and treatments provided to you is what brings us closest to God. The result of these sufferings, these wounds, is that you will be able to access paradise.”
Nasrallah: “Today, the ‘Axis of Resistance’ possesses great strength, resilience, and enhanced capabilities. The Revolutionary Guards are at the foundation of this resistance, which has taken on the responsibility of supporting oppressed peoples.”
In the start of his speech, marking the "Day of the Wounded and prisoners of the resistance," Hassan Nasrallah said: "We have a lot of ongoing issues with the Israeli enemy, notably those who are missing. That's the reason we are here today.”
In the lead up to Hassan Nasrallah's speech, marking the "Day of the Wounded," a video was broadcast that paid tribute to wounded Hezbollah fighters. The speech is being televised on the party's TV channel, al-Manar, and on screens for crowds gathered at several locations in Lebanon, including in the southern suburbs of Beirut, in Hermel, Nabatieh, and Baalbeck.
The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, has begun speaking in his sixth speech since the start of the group's military confrontations with Israel on October 8.
While we await the speech of Hassan Nasrallah, we have an update on the situation in southern Lebanon in the last 30 minutes:
- The Israeli army bombed a house in Shihine (Sour) and a building in Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun), residents of the villages told L'Orient Today.
- The Israeli army attacked a house between Bint Jbeil and Yaroun in the Bint Jbeil district, a security source told L'Orient Today. It was not immediately clear whether the three attacks resulted in casualties.
We are awaiting the speech of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
The party has lost 193 members in Lebanon and Syria since the conflict with Israel began on Oct. 8.
We will bring LIVE updates as we get them.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah will speak at 3 p.m. It will be his sixth speech since the beginning of the conflict between the party and Israel, which started on Oct. 8, the day after Hamas’s assault.
We will have LIVE coverage here.
Photo of the funeral ceremony held this Tuesday in the locality of Talloussa, in the Marjayoun caza in southern Lebanon, in honor of three Hezbollah members recently killed during exchanges of fire between the party and Israel on the border between Lebanon and Israel.
(Photo: Hezbollah Media Office)
Two Al Jazeera journalists were seriously injured on Tuesday by an Israeli strike in the south of the Gaza Strip, the Qatari channel reported.
According to Al Jazeera, correspondent Ismail Abu Omar and his cameraman were wounded by a strike in the Rafah sector, on the southern tip of the territory. When questioned by AFP, the Israeli army had no immediate comment.
In the last hour, the Israeli army struck a house and a mall in the south Lebanon border village of Houla in Marjayoun which resulted in a light injury of a municipality police officer, residents of the village told L'Orient Today.
Dismantling the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) would be a "disaster," said its head on Tuesday, under pressure following the discovery by the Israeli army of a Hamas tunnel under the organization's Gaza headquarters.
Speaking to journalists after being questioned by diplomats in Geneva, UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini also called for an "investigation," after the end of the war in Gaza, into the Hamas tunnels and the Israeli army's attacks on the population and UN facilities in Gaza.
According to Reuters and other foreign media, the Democrat-led US Senate has voted in favor of a bill granting $95.34 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.
The bill provides $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel in its war against Hamas and $4.83 billion to support partners in the Indo-Pacific region, including Taiwan, and deter aggression from China.
The bill also provides $9.15 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, Ukraine and other conflict zones around the world.
Passage of the bill by the US Senate would send it back to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where its future is uncertain.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on Israel on Tuesday to guarantee "safe corridors" for the protection of civilians in Rafah, the last refuge for over a million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
"Hundreds of thousands of people have sought refuge in Rafah on Israel's orders, and these people must be able to continue to find protection there," said the Foreign Minister at a press conference with her Palestinian Authority counterpart Riyad al-Maliki in Berlin, who is due to visit Israel on Wednesday.
Update on the situation in southern Lebanon in the last hour:
- The Israeli army struck the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab and Ramieh in Bint Jbeil district.
- The Israeli army shelled the outskirts of Jibbain and Yarine, Naqoura, and Dhairah In Sour district.
A mother and her son were seriously wounded by an anti-tank missile in northern Israel, which came from the direction of Lebanon.
The two were traveling in a car when the missile struck near them. "The vehicle flew sideways, they got out of it and then there was a second fall that hit them," said Deputy Mayor Ofir Yehezkeli, who was at the scene.
Hezbollah says it attacked a police building in Kiryat Shmouna at 11:15 a.m. They said it was in retaliation to Israeli attacks on civilian areas, including a strike on the southern Lebanese village of Tallouseh.
Mossad chief David Barnea arrived in Egypt for renewed truce negotiations between Israel and Hamas. An American and Egyptian delegation is also in Cairo today to discuss a truce agreement in the Gaza Strip, including the release of Israeli hostages by Hamas, according to Israeli officials.
Read the report here.
Gaza's Ministry of Health announced a new death toll of 28,473 along with an additional 68,146 people injured.
Yesterday, Hamas reported that 67 Palestinians had been killed in a hostage-release operation by the Israeli army in Rafah early this morning.
China has called on Israel to halt its military operation in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, "as soon as possible" in order to "prevent an even greater humanitarian catastrophe."
International pressure is mounting for a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas, including the further release of hostages, despite threats of an Israeli offensive on Rafah. Rafah is the last refuge for over a million people living in the Gaza Strip.
Read the full story here.
In the last half hour in southern Lebanon:
- Residents reported machine-gun fire in the vicinity of the locality of Wazzani (Hasbaya district).
- Israeli artillery fired two shells on the outskirts of Rmaish (Bint Jbeil), according to other reports from residents.
- Residents saw and heard the explosion of an interceptor missile in the airspace of Wadi al-Slouqi (Marjayoun) in the morning. Our correspondent adds that witnesses had initially reported that it was artillery fire.
Hezbollah announced that it attacked a military brigade around an Israeli position opposite the village of Houla (Marjayoun), in southern Lebanon, at 7:45 a.m., and claimed to have "directly hit" the target.
What happened on the Lebanese-Israeli border last night:
- Hezbollah announced the deaths of three of its members after several Israeli bombardments on southern Lebanon at night without announcing the date and time of the deaths as usual. This makes the total number of Hezbollah fighters who were killed since the beginning of the conflict to 193.
- The Israeli army performed several strikes on a house and its surroundings in the southern village of Tallouseh in the Marjayoun district around 9 p.m. The strike is believed to have caused the killing of the three Hezbollah fighters, a security source told L'Orient Today.
- The Israeli army shelled the surrounding of the southern village of Wazzani (Hasbaya) around 10 p.m., a security source told L'Orient Today. A missile coming from Lebanon is believed to have been intercepted around 11 p.m., the source said.
- The Israeli army also shelled the areas between the southern Lebanese villages of Beit Lef, Yater, and Ramieh in the Bint Jbeil district, a security source told L'Orient Today.
- According to the Israeli army, six rockets fell in an open area in northern Israel.
The Israeli army announced the deaths of three soldiers, including a battalion commander, killed in fighting in Gaza on Monday, according to several Israeli media outlets.
The Times of Israel reports that 232 Israeli soldiers have been killed since Oct. 27, the date of the ground offensive launched by the Israeli army in the enclave. This figure does not include soldiers killed in the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 or those killed on the border with Lebanon.
The figures communicated by the Israeli army have not been independently verified.
According to Reuters, France has submitted a written proposal to Beirut aimed at ending hostilities with Israel and settling the border issue between Lebanon and Israel, according to a document seen by the agency.
The proposal calls for combatants, including Hezbollah's elite Radwan Force, to withdraw 10 km from the border.
Also on Monday, the UN called on Israel to abandon its offensive on Rafah by saying that the organization would not associate itself with "a forced displacement of population" at Rafah, the Secretary-General's spokesman warned on Monday, repeating that there was "no safe place" in the Gaza Strip to move this population.
Faced with international fears of a major military offensive, Benjamin Netanyahu asserted on Sunday that Israel would provide "safe passage" for the population to leave Rafah, without specifying where they could go.
"They're going to evacuate" the Palestinians. "Where, on the Moon?" asked the head of European foreign policy, Josep Borrell, in Brussels.
Finally, Hamas warned on Sunday that an offensive on Rafah would "torpedo" any agreement on the hostages, while talks on a new truce are being led by Egypt and Qatar.
CIA Director Richard Burns is expected in Cairo today to continue talks, according to sources close to the matter.
"The United States is working on a hostage release agreement between Israel and Hamas that would immediately bring at least a six-week period of calm to Gaza," said US President Joe Biden, whose administration still rejects an unconditional, open-ended truce. This period could lead to "something more lasting," added Joe Biden.
The Israeli offensive has claimed 28,340 lives in the Gaza Strip, the vast majority of them civilians, according to the Gazan Ministry of Health.
And on Monday, Amnesty International published a report compiling further evidence that Israeli forces continue to flout international humanitarian law, wiping out entire families with impunity."
Read a summary of the report here.
The situation in Gaza:
- Israel remains under strong international pressure to abandon or at least postpone an offensive on Rafah, the last refuge for over a million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. This does not prevent the Israeli army from continuing to bombard this part of the enclave, as AFP noted.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Monday his determination to continue "military pressure until complete victory" over the Palestinian Islamist movement, whose "last stronghold" is Rafah, to free "all our hostages."
- The United States, Israel's main ally, insists on its opposition to a large-scale operation without a solution for the civilians trapped on the closed border with Egypt in the extreme south of the territory.
- Jordan's King Abdullah II, with whom the American president met on Monday, called for "an immediate and lasting cease-fire" in the Gaza Strip.
Check out the Morning Brief so that you are up-to-date with what has been happening.
Thank you for joining us for our live coverage of the ongoing war in Gaza.
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