A picture taken from northern Israel, along the border with southern Lebanon on March 4, 2024, shows smoke billowing following Israeli bombardment on the Lebanese village of Markaba. (Photo by Jalaa Marey/AFP)


Three Hezbollah rescue workers killed in Israeli strike on south Lebanon: Day 150 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Unclaimed strike on Margaliot fired from southern Lebanon kills foreign worker and wounds nine others in northern Israel.

Two Israeli attempts to infiltrate southern Lebanon by land were foiled overnight by Hezbollah.

Amos Hochstein in Beirut to try to "defuse the conflict" on the border with Israel.

US Vice President Kamala Harris calls for cease-fire, meets Benny Gantz in Washington.

22:26 Beirut Time

We're closing our live coverage of the Gaza war for the day. Thanks for joining us, and we'll be back tomorrow with more news updates and analysis, right here at L'Orient Today.

22:21 Beirut Time

Israel recalled its ambassador to the United Nations for "immediate consultations" over what it said was a UN attempt to "silence" information about Hamas sexual violence, AFP reports.

"I have ordered our Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, to return to Israel for immediate consultations following the attempt to silence [information] on the mass rapes committed by Hamas and its collaborators on October 7," Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote in a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

22:18 Beirut Time

Three individuals have been arrested on suspicion of having stolen more than 21 tons of agricultural crops, including walnuts and avocados, from orchards in the towns of Klayaa and Burj al-Malook, both located in the Marjayoun district in southern Lebanon, according to a statement released today by the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The statement noted that the thefts took place while citizens "were absent from their villages due to the Israeli aggression in the region."

Since Oct. 8, the exchange of fire between Israel and Hezbollah has displaced 91,288 people from southern Lebanon, particularly from border towns and villages, as reported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

👉 Read the full report here.

21:56 Beirut Time

Lebanon’s Ministry of Public Health condemned the Israeli airstrike that targeted a facility belonging to Islamic Health Association, Hezbollah's medical organization, in the southern Lebanese town of Adaisseh, Marjayoun district this afternoon. The strike resulted in "the martyrdom of three medics and the injury of two others,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The health ministry said that it will not "turn a blind eye" to the Israeli army's “persistence in repeating attacks on healthcare centers [and] ... these crimes committed by the occupying forces since the beginning of their aggression in the South."

According to the statement, there have been seven killed and ten wounded within the Islamic Health Association and the Islamic Mission Scouts, affiliated with the Amal Movement, since cross-border fighting began. Seventeen ambulances have been destroyed or damaged by the fighting.

👉 Read more here.

21:40 Beirut Time

Updates from southern Lebanon:

• Israeli warplanes targeted the area between Bint Jbeil and Ainata, in Bint Jbeil district, and ambulances have been dispatched, a security source told our correspondent in the South.

• According to local residents, an Israeli air strike targeted a house in the locality of Soultanieh, in the same district. So far, no injuries have been reported.

Our correspondent in the region, Muntasser Abdallah, reports that this is the first time this village has been targeted by Israel since cross-border fighting began on Oct. 8.

20:24 Beirut Time

The Islamic Health Association, Hezbollah's medical organization, has announced the death of three of its members in the Israeli attack on Adaisseh, in Marjeyoun district.

Those killed were: Hussein Ibrahim, born in 1970 and originally from Adaisseh, Ali Souaidane and Abbas Hojeir, born in 1962 and 1993 respectively and both originally from Adsheet, in Nabatieh district.

The organization points out that this afternoon's Israeli attack "is the third of its kind on Civil Defense centers since the start of this war." On Jan. 11, an Israeli attack on a center in Hanine killed two and on Feb. 22, an attack killed another two rescue workers.

This brings to 232 the total number of Hezbollah members killed in Lebanon and Syria since the clashes between the party and Israel began on Oct. 8, according to our count.

19:50 Beirut Time

Israeli Emergency cabinet minister and opposition politician Benny Gantz addresses the press in Kiryat Shmona, Israel Nov. 14, 2023. (Credit: Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo/Reuters)

Israeli war Cabinet minister Benny Gantz is in Washington this week to meet Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Reuters reports, and the fact that it is he, rather than Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who is making the visit has caused a stir.

Netanyahu's relations with US President Joe Biden have been so strained that more than a year after taking office, he has still not received an invitation to visit Washington.

👉 Read the full report here.

18:58 Beirut Time

During a conference in Beirut today focused on supporting Gazans under Israel's assault, Hamas representative Osama Hamdan urged Palestinians throughout the Middle East "to transform each day into a period of confrontations during the holy month of Ramadan," which starts next week.

He said that Arab nations should not sit idly by, watching as hunger plagues their people and claims their lives.

Hamdan told reporters that the ongoing negotiations for a potential cease-fire with Israel demonstrated "Hamas' flexibility, driven by concerns for the well-being of their people." He also stated that what Israel couldn't achieve on the battlefield would not be won through political means.

17:57 Beirut Time

A truce in Gaza between Israel and Hamas "will not systematically extend to Lebanon," said US Special Envoy Amos Hochstein, following his meeting with Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri in Beirut today.

"We are working with international partners to promote a peaceful solution in Lebanon," said Hochstein, who is a senior adviser to US President Joe Biden, adding that "escalation is dangerous. There is no such thing as a limited war."

According to him, "an escalation will not help either the Lebanese or the Israelis to return to their homes."

Tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated since early October 2023, on both sides of the border. In Lebanon, over 80,000 have been displaced, but many remain as their only source of income depends on being able to continue farming on the land.

17:42 Beirut Time

🔴 Three people were killed and one wounded in the recent Israeli attack on the southern Lebanese village of Adaisseh, in Marjeyoun district, two security and medical sources told our correspondent in the region, Muntasser Abdallah.

The attack targeted a center belonging to the Islamic Health Association, a Hezbollah-affiliated organization, and completely destroyed it, also affecting nearby homes. The identities of the victims are not yet known.

17:11 Beirut Time

Updates from southern Lebanon:

• Israel targeted a house in Adaisseh, Marjayoun district. Ambulances and rescue teams from the Islamic Association, affiliated with Hezbollah, and the Islamic Mission Scouts, affiliated with Amal Movement were dispatched to the scene of the strike.

• Hezbollah said it targeted surveillance devices in the Israeli Rwaisat al-Alam site in the occupied heights of Kfar Shuba at 3:20 p.m.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Kfar Shuba, Hasbaya district, and Markaba, Marjayoun district. Ambulances responded the strike in Markaba, according to local residents.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted Wadi Bayad in the northern outskirts of the village of Hula Marjeyoun district, residents told L'Orient Today's correspondent in the South.

• Israeli warplanes raided the outskirts of the town of Naqoura, Sour district, according to a security source.

• Israel targeted Kfar Kila, Marjayoun district, with machine-gun fire, from the Israeli town of Metula, located opposite.

16:50 Beirut Time

President Tayyip Erdogan is set to discuss Turkey's efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during talks this week in Ankara, a Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters.

Speaking at a diplomatic forum in Turkey over the weekend, the Palestinian Authority's Foreign Minister Riyad-al Maliki said Abbas would pay a visit to Ankara on Tuesday and meet Erdogan.

Turkey, a NATO-member that has harshly criticized Israel for its attacks on Gaza and backed measures to have it tried for genocide at the World Court, has repeatedly called for a cease-fire. But Ankara has no direct involvement in truce talks.

16:24 Beirut Time

Hochstein (left) received at Ain al-Tineh by Berri on the first day of his visit to Beirut, March 4, 2024. (Credit: Mohammad Yassine/L'Orient Today)

United States Special Envoy Amos Hochstein arrived this afternoon in Beirut, the US Embassy in Lebanon announced — the same day Hezbollah announced it foiled two Israeli attempts at a ground incursion into southern Lebanon overnight.

In an interview with L'Orient Today two weeks ago, Lebanese Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri said that Hochstein is meant to be presenting a written document containing the results of recent meetings with Lebanese and Israeli officials, and his proposal to resolve the conflict at the Israel-Lebanon border. It's expected that this visit, Hochstein's latest in a long string off diplomatic trips to Lebanon, will involve presenting the document.

👉 Read the full report here.

15:23 Beirut Time

The Amal Movement said on Monday that any Israeli "attempt to attack Lebanese territory will be faced by all resistance fighters with the same determination" that was present in previous years.

Amal released its statement after Hezbollah announced that it thwarted two Israeli infiltration attempts yesterday night.

"The ruling gangs in the Zionist entity are pushing matters toward further escalation by attempting ... to penetrate the borders ... to impose pressure, [prior to] the visit of the American envoy to Beirut," the Amal Movement said.

Amal added that the Israeli pressures will "not work in imposing political realities related to Lebanon."

"The Lebanese position is clear and is manifested in curbing the Zionist aggression, forcing the enemy to withdraw from all of our occupied territories without restrictions or conditions, and obligating it to effectively and seriously implement Resolution 1701."

14:22 Beirut Time

An update on the situation on the Lebanese-Israeli border over the last two hours:

- Israeli fighter jets targeted the village of Shihine (Sour), according to our correspondent in South Lebanon.

- The Israeli army announced that it had attacked the Lebanese launch site of the anti-tank missile that had hit the Margaliot region in northern Israel earlier in the day, Haaretz reports. According to the Israeli newspaper, a 30-year-old Indian foreign worker was killed and nine other Indians were wounded in the attack, which has so far not been claimed.

- The Israeli army also said it had targeted "a Hezbollah military site and another building belonging to the Shiite party, in two separate locations in southern Lebanon," according to Haaretz.

13:34 Beirut Time

Hezbollah parliamentary group leader Mohammad Raad speaking at a religious ceremony in South Lebanon, March 4, 2024. (Photo provided by our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah)

"Our confrontation with the Israeli enemy at this stage is delicate and extremely sensitive because its calculations are complicated," said the head of Hezbollah's parliamentary group Mohammad Raad at a religious ceremony in South Lebanon.

"Any delinquency or laziness can lead to uncalculated and undesirable results. That's why we shed blood and sacrifice lives. We know where we're going, and will ultimately succeed in twisting the enemy's arm and defeating him," he added.

Finally, Raad said that "the enemy has escaped the rules of deterrence that he tries to evade from time to time". "The resulting pain will not deter us from continuing to confront this enemy until it becomes submissive, its project is overturned and we prevent it from continuing its aggression against Gaza," he concluded.

13:21 Beirut Time

US envoy Amos Hochstein arrived at Beirut International Airport, according to the official National News Agency (Ani).

The US diplomat returns in the midst of negotiations on a truce in Gaza for the month of Ramadan, and against a backdrop of heightened tensions between Hezbollah and Israel, who have been clashing for the past few days well beyond the rules of engagement.

12:38 Beirut Time

The Iranian Foreign Ministry, quoted by al-Markaziya Agency, called on the international community to "assume responsibility for provocative Israeli measures targeting Lebanon."

12:20 Beirut Time

A foreign worker was killed and seven others wounded by an anti-tank missile fired from southern Lebanon at Margaliot in northern Israel, the Magen David Adom, Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross, reported in Haaretz.

One of these people was slightly injured, two others are in serious condition and four in moderate condition.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

12:14 Beirut Time

The Israeli army announced on Monday that it had demolished the home of a member of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas accused of killing an Israeli-British woman and her two daughters in the occupied West Bank last year.

Also in the West Bank, a 16-year-old Palestinian was killed before dawn on Monday during an Israeli operation in a refugee camp, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The Israeli army said in a statement that it had "launched an operation in the city of Nablus to demolish the home of the terrorist" Moaz al-Masry.

According to a witness, the Israeli army cordoned off the al-Makhfiya district and surrounded the Hamas member's building, before blowing up his family apartment at around 2 a.m.

12:10 Beirut Time

Late morning update on the situation on the Lebanese-Israeli border:

- Israeli artillery fire targeted the northern entrance to the village of Houla (Marjayoun), our correspondent in South Lebanon reports, citing local residents.

- Two men were wounded by an anti-tank missile in Margaliot, northern Israel, according to Haaretz. One was slightly injured and the other had a moderate to severe wound.

- Alarm sirens sounded in Galilee following "suspicious air infiltration," Haaretz reports.

11:44 Beirut Time

An update on the situation on the Lebanese-Israeli border in the last hour:

Israeli jets targeted a house in the Khallet Wardeh area of Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil), residents told our correspondent in South Lebanon.

No information on injuries has been released.

11:43 Beirut Time

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed his fear that the war in Gaza could lead "to a much wider conflagration," addressing the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"I am deeply concerned that in this powder keg, any spark could lead to a much wider conflagration," Volker Türk stressed, adding that "this would have implications for all countries in the Middle East, and for many beyond," according to remarks reported by AFP.

11:14 Beirut Time

Hezbollah Central Council member Nabil Qaouq said that "the resistance prepared for all possibilities of escalation to achieve a victory greater than the victory of July 2006."

In 2006, Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war that killed more than 1,100 Lebanese people and more than 150 Israelis.

Qaouq's comments were made during a commemoration ceremony for two Hezbollah members who were recently killed in the ongoing hostilities between the party and Israel. The ceremony took place in the southern Lebanese town of Dibaal.

"In Lebanon, we are continuing our operations in the field to support Gaza and protect our people and our country, and our responses to the [Israeli attacks are more severe than before]," he added.

"The resistance’s continuation of its operations for five months proves the failure of all military and political pressures to break the resistance’s decision to support Gaza."

10:43 Beirut Time

The Gazan Ministry of Health has announced a new death toll of 30,534 in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war.

It also reported, in a statement, 124 deaths in the last 24 hours and a total of 71,920 wounded in the Palestinian territory since Oct. 7.

09:48 Beirut Time

In a rare incident, Hezbollah announced yesterday night that it thwarted two Israeli infiltration attempts.

- ⁠The party announced that it targeted with rockets at 11:45 p.m. an Israeli force that was trying to "cross into Lebanon" the area of Wadi Qatmoun, opposite the Lebanese village of Rmaish (Bint Jbeil).

-⁠ ⁠Hezbollah also said that it donated at 12:15 a.m. a large explosive device targeting a group of Israeli Golani Brigade soldiers that were trying to "cross into Lebanon" in the area of Khirbet Zarit, opposite to the Lebanese village of Ramyah (Bint Jbeil). After donating the explosive device, Hezbollah targeted the same force with artillery shells.

On the night of Jan 21 to 22. Hezbollah announced that it targeted with missile weapons an Israeli force in the vicinity of the Zarit barracks that "was preparing to carry out an aggression inside Lebanese territory."‏ It is not clear if the party meant that the force was trying to cross into Lebanon back then.

09:38 Beirut Time

Here is what happened on the Lebanese-Israeli border last night:

- Between 9 and 9:30 p.m.: Israeli jets fired two batches of missiles targeting houses in the village of Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil).

Prior to these strikes, Israel shot the outskirts of the same village.

- At 9:30 p.m.: Israeli jets destroyed an uninhabited house in Kfar Kila (Marjayoun), without causing casualties.

- At 9:45 p.m.: Hezbollah targeted with artillery shells an "Israeli mechanized force" that was "moving" in the vicinity of the Israeli site of Malkia, facing the Lebanese village of Houla (Marjayoun), according to a statement published by the party.

- Between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m.: More than 15 Israeli artillery shells fell on the outskirts of Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil), Mais al-Jabal and Blida (Marjayoun).

- At 1:30 a.m.: Hezbollah's artillery targeted the Zarit barracks and its surroundings, facing the Lebanese village of Marwahin (Sour), according to another statement published by the party.

09:22 Beirut Time

On Monday in Washington, US Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to meet Israeli Minister Benny Gantz, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet.

Minister without portfolio and former Defense Minister of Israel, Gantz will also meet with White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Antony Blinken, according to US officials.

09:21 Beirut Time

A truce could be signed within "24-48 hours" if Israel "accepts Hamas's demands," a senior official of the Palestinian movement told AFP on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

These include "the return to northern Gaza of displaced Palestinians and an increase in humanitarian aid" to "400 to 500 trucks a day," they added, compared with around 80 at present. Hamas is also calling for a permanent cease-fire and an Israeli military withdrawal from Gaza.

09:20 Beirut Time

Egyptian media, quoted by AFP, said representatives of Qatar and the United States are in Cairo, where Hamas envoys are expected to "give them a response to the proposal drawn up in Paris" at the end of January, said a source close to the Palestinian Islamist movement.

The mediators' proposal calls for a six-week pause in the fighting and the release of 42 of the 130 Israeli hostages – 31 of whom are reported dead – still being held in Gaza against Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

The aim is to achieve a truce in hostilities before the start of the Muslim fasting month, which begins this year on March 10 or 11.

09:19 Beirut Time

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on social network X that "it is imperative that we increase the flow of aid to Gaza."

The war, which has been going on for almost five months, has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, and starvation is "almost inevitable" for 2.2 million people, the vast majority of the population of Gaza, according to Jens Laerke, spokesman for OCHA, the United Nations agency for the coordination of humanitarian affairs.

Faced with the difficulties of transporting aid by road into the territory sealed off by Israel, several countries have parachuted aid into the Gaza Strip in recent weeks, including the United States on Saturday.

09:18 Beirut Time

The situation in Gaza this morning:

US Vice President Kamala Harris has called for an "immediate cease-fire" in the Gaza Strip, putting pressure on Israel as it continues its relentless fight against Hamas in the famine-threatened Palestinian territory.

"Given the scale of the suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks, which is currently on the negotiating table" between Israel and Hamas, Harris said on Sunday, the first senior US official to openly call for such a cease-fire in the besieged Palestinian territory.

In calling on the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take steps to increase aid to the Gaza Strip – threatened with starvation according to the UN – she also made the most virulent criticism of Israel to date by a senior US official since the start of the war.

09:15 Beirut Time

Be sure to read the Morning Brief so that you can be caught up with what happened over the weekend and what to expect today. 

Morning Brief

Nine Hezbollah members killed, Hochstein in Lebanon, risk of explosion in Tripoli: Everything you need to know to start your Monday

09:15 Beirut Time

Good morning!

Thank you for joining us for our live coverage of the ongoing war in Gaza and its regional impact.