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MORNING BRIEF

Israeli strike kills two, retired soldiers protest, UNRWA's funding crisis: Everything you need to know to start your Friday

Here is what happened yesterday and what to expect today, Friday, Feb. 23

Israeli strike kills two, retired soldiers protest, UNRWA's funding crisis: Everything you need to know to start your Friday

The Waxing Gibbous moon rises as an Israeli Air Force fighter aircraft flies over the border area with south Lebanon in northern Israel on Feb. 22, 2024. (Credit: Jalaa Marey/AFP)

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Catch up on yesterday’s LIVE coverage of Day 139 of the Israel-Hamas war here.

An Israeli drone strike in Kfar Roummane killed two people and critically injured three others, a medical source told L’Orient Today. Five people were hospitalized after Israel struck the apartment building in Kfar Roumane, two of whom succumbed to their wounds. Hezbollah announced the deaths of two members later in the day, raising the number of party members killed since Oct. 8 to 208. The target of the strike remains unclear. Hezbollah announced several cross-border attacks, some of which were explicitly claiming to retaliate for Israeli attacks on civilians. Over the past two weeks, Israeli attacks have caused significant civilian casualties.

Army retirees held protests across Lebanon demanding the caretaker Cabinet increase public employee’s wages at the outcome of today’s meeting. Retirees protested in Beirut, outside the Grand Serail and the Finance Ministry, as well as in Saida, Baalbeck, Akkar, Tripoli and South Lebanon, in some places preventing public administration employees from accessing their buildings. Protesters warned that they intend to further escalate and stop paying taxes and public utility bills if the government does not improve their compensation. Yesterday’s protest is the latest in a series of demonstrations by retirees, who echoed discontent across the public sector where salaries lag tens of times behind the lira’s depreciation.

Urging donors to reconsider their funding freeze, the United Nations’ Palestine refugee agency (UNRWA) said budget shortfalls could begin with an inability to pay cash grants to Palestinians in Lebanon and could cause a sanitation crisis in Palestinian refugee camps, Reuters reported. The agency’s Lebanon chief, Dorothee Klaus, said there is no “plan B” for financing in the wake of donors’ cut-off, prompted by allegations that 12 of UNRWA’s 13,000 employees in Gaza participated in Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel. In Lebanon, UNRWA manages 12 camps for refugees, providing services from healthcare and schooling to garbage collection. If funding dries up, within a couple of days there would be trash filling camp streets, Klaus said.

At least 29,410 people have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to the latest figures from the enclave’s health ministry.

Israeli airstrikes killed five people in Rafah, where fears of Israel’s invasion loom both among the more than one million displaced Palestinians with no more places to go and the international community fearing a humanitarian catastrophe. One in six children under the age of two in Gaza is acutely malnourished, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on X.

In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “Israel plans to split Gaza Strip in two

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 139 of the Israel-Hamas war here.An Israeli drone strike in Kfar Roummane killed two people and critically injured three others, a medical source told L’Orient Today. Five people were hospitalized after Israel struck the apartment building in Kfar Roumane, two of whom succumbed to their...