Palestinians react as they sit at the site of an Israeli strike on a house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Feb. 23, 2024. (Credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)


Israeli war cabinet discusses possible truce; clashes in south Lebanon: Gaza war, day 141

What you need to know

A delegation led by the head of Mossad is in Paris to "unblock" talks on a new truce.

Israeli prime minister's "post-war" plan for Gaza has been widely criticized.

At least 29,606 people have been killed and 69,737 wounded in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to Hamas.

A meeting is scheduled for this evening between the Israeli war cabinet and the delegation led by the head of Mossad in Paris to "unblock" talks on a new truce.

21:07 Beirut Time

Thank you for following our LIVE coverage of day 141 of the Gaza war. We will be back tomorrow with more news updates.

21:00 Beirut Time

Hezbollah said it had carried out an attack on the Israeli barracks in Zariit at 4 p.m. today, "in response to attacks on villages and civilian dwellings, particularly in Aita al-Shaab, using a Burkan-type missile."

20:49 Beirut Time

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said that the USS Mason (DDG 87) today shot down one Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile launched into the Gulf of Aden from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen that was likely targeting a fuel tanker, according to Reuters.

Neither the USS Mason nor the US-flagged, owned and operated tanker MV Torm Thor were damaged and there were no injuries, CENTCOM added in a statement.

19:59 Beirut Time

BREAKING: The Israeli war cabinet will tonight be briefed by negotiators who held mediated talks in Paris on a possible Gaza truce, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's national security adviser said, according to Reuters.

Tzachi Hanegbi told Channel 12 TV that the fact the negotiators believed their Friday meeting with Qatari, Egyptian and US mediators warranted convening the evening war cabinet session "shows that they did not come back empty-handed."

19:37 Beirut Time

The UN agency in charge of Palestinian affairs said it has been forced to pause aid deliveries to northern Gaza – where it is not “possible to conduct proper humanitarian operations” – amid increasing reports of famine among people in the area, according to The Guardian.

The UN began warning of “pockets of famine” in Gaza last month, with needs particularly acute in the north. Conditions have steadily worsened since, causing a rise in the number of hungry people making fraught attempts to claim aid from passing trucks.

“The desperate behavior of hungry and exhausted people is preventing the safe and regular passage of our trucks,” said Tamara Alrifai, director of external relations for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). She added that she was “very wary of how to explain this so as not to make it sound like we are blaming people or describing these things as criminal acts."

19:08 Beirut Time

Gaza's Ministry of Health said today that a two-month-old child, Mahmoud Fatouh, had died of malnutrition in Gaza City's al-Shifa hospital, reports AFP.

19:07 Beirut Time

Recent developments in south Lebanon

• A security source told L'Orient-Le Jour that Israeli warplanes attacked the town of Dhairah (Sour district), targeting a house. Ambulances headed towards the targeted area.

• Israeli warplanes launched a series of raids a few minutes ago targeting the center of Braasheet and the outskirts of Ramaya in the Bint Jbeil district, a security source told L'Orient-Le Jour. Ambulances headed towards Braasheet.

The strike destroyed an empty home in Braasheet and caused damage in the neighborhood. Two wounded were rescued, according to our correspondent via a medical source.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Rabb Thalathin and Markaba in the Marjayoun district, according to the security source.

• Hezbollah claimed responsibility for a strike carried out at 5 p.m. on a building housing Israeli soldiers in the town of Malikiyah.

17:55 Beirut Time

Recent developments in south Lebanon (past hour)

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an attack at 4:20 p.m. on an Israeli military position at Kubra hill.

The party then attacked the Roueissat el-Alam site in the Shebaa Farms at 4:35 p.m., followed by the Zebdine barracks in the same area at 4:45 p.m.

Hezbollah also reported an attack, at 4:50 p.m., on the Israeli barracks at Ramim, using a Burkan-type missile.

17:06 Beirut Time

Recent developments in south Lebanon (past hour)

• A resident of the village of Rabb Thalathin told L'Orient-Le Jour that the airstrikes that happened in the village bombed two houses with no casualties being reported.

• The Israeli army shelled the outskirts of the southern Lebanese village of Rashaya Fawqar (Hasbaya), a security source told L'Orient-Le Jour.

16:07 Beirut Time

Palestinians receive food rations at a donation point at a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Feb. 2, 2024, as the Gaza war continues.

The UN children's agency UNICEF has warned that the alarming lack of food, surging malnutrition and disease could lead to an "explosion" in child deaths in Gaza.

One in six children aged under two in Gaza was acutely malnourished, it estimated on Feb. 19. 

(Photo credit: Said Khatib/AFP)

15:18 Beirut Time

Sources familiar with the details of the meeting held in Paris on Friday evening between the Israeli delegation and representatives of the USA, Egypt and Qatar, told Haaretz that the discussions were "very good" and that "significant progress had been made."

They added that the outcome of the meeting will enable an updated framework for the potential agreement to be presented to Hamas, which will hopefully be adopted by the group soon.

15:16 Beirut Time

Recent developments in the south (last 30 minutes)

• The Israeli army launched multiple airstrikes on the southern Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil), residents of the village told L'Orient-Le Jour.

• The Israeli army shelled the outskirts of the southern Lebanese villages of Tayr Harfa and Dhaira in Sour district, residents of the village told L'Orient-Le Jour.

• Hezbollah announced that at 2:25 p.m., they attacked an Israeli position facing the southern Lebanese village of Ramaya (Bint Jbeil) and said they "directly hit" the target.

14:17 Beirut Time

Israeli warplanes have raided a forested area between Maroun al-Ras and Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil), residents tell our correspondent in south Lebanon.

Several homes have meanwhile been destroyed in Blida (Marjayoun caza) as a result of Israeli strikes targeting the village.

13:43 Beirut Time

Update on the situation on the Lebanese-Israeli border:

* At 12:05 p.m., Hezbollah claimed to have successfully targeted Israeli soldiers gathered at a site opposite the Lebanese village of Dhairah.

* According to Haaretz, alarms were activated in several communities in northern Israel. A security source told our correspondent that rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards Israeli positions in the western Galilee.

13:28 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has announced that at 12:05 p.m. it attacked a military brigade near an Israeli position facing the southern Lebanese village of Dhairah (Sour) and said it "directly hit" the target.

13:19 Beirut Time

Hezbollah MP Hussein Hajj Hassan told a party meeting in Baalbeck that US support for Israel, which is committing "genocide" in Gaza, is evidence of an "American intention and goal to end and abolish Palestine's right to an independent state."

Image: An internal Hezbollah meeting chaired by party MP Hussein Hajj Hassan in Baalbeck. (Photo provided by our correspondent Sarah Abdallah)

12:55 Beirut Time

The Israeli army has struck a house in the southern Lebanese village of Blida, residents of the village tell L’Orient Today. It was not immediately clear whether there were casualties in the strike.

12:38 Beirut Time

Here's what has happened in the last hour in south Lebanon:

* Hezbollah announced that it attacked a military brigade at 9 a.m. near an Israeli position facing the southern Lebanese village of Alma al-Shaab (Sour) with two Burkan missiles. The group said it "directly hit" the target.

* The Israeli army opened fire on houses in the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Kila (Marjayoun), residents of the village told L'Orient Today.

12:35 Beirut Time

Wazzani village mokhtar Ahmad Mohamad tells L'Orient Today that the Israeli army opened fire on his house in the village around 2 a.m. today.

Explaining that bullets penetrated his home during the attack, he said, "It's a miracle no one was injured."

He adds that he has since left the village in order to protect his life. 

12:10 Beirut Time

Lebanon's Foreign Ministry has issued a statement welcoming the remarks by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken concerning the illegality of Israeli settlement building in the Palestinian territories and the fact that these actions are not constructive for achieving lasting peace.

The ministry also called on the international community to increase pressure on Israel to put an end to these hostile actions, which undermine the chances of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace. "Only equitable solutions will bring peace to the Middle East, putting an end to the tensions and wars that have lasted for more than 76 years," the statement added.

At a press conference in Buenos Aires on Friday, Blinken declared himself "disappointed" by Israel's announcement of its intention to build 3,000 new housing units in occupied West Bank settlements, referring to a "counterproductive" decision. He also reaffirmed his country's opposition to any "Israeli reoccupation" of Gaza.

11:26 Beirut Time

At 9 a.m., Hezbollah announced it had successfully targeted Israeli soldiers gathered at the Tallet el-Kobra Israeli site with Burkan missiles.

Haaretz meanwhile is reporting that the Israeli army has indicated that alarm sirens, which were activated in several communities in northern Israel earlier, were triggered following a “false alarm."

11:16 Beirut Time

Israeli air force fighter jets attacked Hezbollah targets and a rocket launch site in the Jabal Blat area of ​​southern Lebanon, near the border with Israel, the Israeli army reports, according to Haaretz.

A Hezbollah observation post was also attacked in Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil).

Alarm sirens were activated in several communities in northern Israel, according to Haaretz.

10:55 Beirut Time

⚡ An oil spill, stretching nearly 30 km long, has been caused in the Red Sea by a Houthi attack on a British cargo ship, according to a message posted on X by United States Central Command (Centcom).

10:53 Beirut Time

An Israeli airstrike on Friday destroyed the home of a well-known Palestinian comedian in Gaza, killing at least 23 and injuring dozens more, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory, AFP reports. More details here.

Image: Comedian Mahmoud Zuaiter. Photo taken from his Instagram account

10:51 Beirut Time

Gaza casualty toll update: The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says that at least 29,606 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory during the war between militants and Israel, AFP reports.

Some, 69,737 people have been injured since the conflict began on Oct. 7, a statement read.

10:25 Beirut Time

During the night, Hezbollah announced the death of one of its fighters: Mohamas Abd al-Rasoul, from the southern border village of Maroun al-Ras (Bint Jbeil). As usual, Hezbollah did not announce the date or place of his death.

This brings Hezbollah's total death toll on the Lebanese and Syrian fronts since Oct. 8 to 212.

09:40 Beirut Time

Israeli strikes on south Lebanon continued this morning: 

* Around 1 a.m., the Israeli army struck the northern outskirts of Ramaya and Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil).

* The Israeli army shelled the outskirts of the southern Lebanese villages of Tayr Harfa and Dhairah in the Sour district around 9 a.m., residents of the villages told L'Orient Today.

09:39 Beirut Time

Meanwhile, here's what happened in south Lebanon late last night:

* The Israeli army shelled the southern Lebanese villages of Beit Lif (Sour) around 9 p.m., a security source told L'Orient Today.

* The Israeli army launched airstrikes on the southern Lebanese villages of Ramaya (Bint Jbeil) and Blat (Marjayoun) around 10 p.m., a security source told L'Orient Today.

* An Israeli tank struck the outskirts of the southern Lebanese villages of Markaba (Marjayoun) and Honin (Bint Jbeil) around 10 p.m.

09:33 Beirut Time

In four and a half months, the war has displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and pushed an estimated 2.2 million residents, the vast majority of the Gaza Strip's population, to the brink of famine, according to the UN.

“We can no longer turn a blind eye to this human tragedy,” warned the United Nations agency for the support of Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) on the social network X.

Concern is growing every day in Rafah, where at least 1.4 million people are living, most of whom have fled the fighting elsewhere in the enclave. Rafah is the upcoming target of a large-scale operation announced by the Israeli army.

09:31 Beirut Time

The Israeli military offensive has killed 29,514 in Gaza since Oct. 7, the vast majority of them civilians, according to the latest Hamas report.

Israel's war on Gaza is subject to growing criticism.

Visiting Argentina, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed his country's opposition to any " Israeli reoccupation" of Gaza.

In Geneva, the UN high commissioner for human rights denounced in a report yesterday "the gross violations" of human rights in Gaza "by all parties" since the start of the war.

For his part, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who recently compared the Israeli offensive to the Holocaust, persisted yesterday in accusing Israel of "genocide." 

09:27 Beirut Time

Away from the frontlines in Gaza:

A delegation led by Mossad chief David Barnea arrived in Paris yesterday in the hope of " unblocking" talks for a new truce, according to an Israeli official. Talks also took place this week in Egypt.

Barnea had met his US and Egyptian counterparts and the Qatari prime minister in Paris at the end of January to discuss a new agreement.

According to a Hamas source, the plan then called for a six-week pause in the fighting and the release of 200 to 300 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 35 to 40 hostages held by Hamas.

09:24 Beirut Time

The situation in Gaza this morning:

The conflict shows no sign of abating 20 weeks after its outbreak. Israeli military operations left at least 103 dead overnight, the Hamas Health Ministry announced this morning.

The "post-war" plan for Gaza presented by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been widely criticized, including by the United States, Israel's great ally.

The humanitarian situation continues to worsen in the Palestinian territory, with the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warning of the "threat of mass starvation" due to insufficient water and food supplies.

09:07 Beirut Time

Good morning, 
Thanks for joining us. We're back today with live updates on the war on Gaza and related developments in southern Lebanon and across the wider region.