A bird flies through the sky as aid parcels are airdropped over the northern Gaza Strip on March 5, 2024, in a joint Jordanian, French, US and Egyptian operation. (Credit: AFP)


Family of three killed in Israeli airstrike on Hula, south Lebanon: Day 151 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Still no breakthrough in cease-fire talks, but Hamas delegation is extending meetings in Cairo for one more day.

30,631 killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, Gaza health ministry says.

Civilian dies in Lebanon after succumbing to their injuries in an Israeli strike on Bint Jbeil.

22:43 Beirut Time

That's it for today's live coverage of the Gaza war and related conflict in Lebanon, Syria, and the Red Sea. We'll be back tomorrow with more news updates and analysis, right here at L'Orient Today.

22:41 Beirut Time

Yemen's Houthis carried out a military operation in which they targeted two US warship destroyers in the Red Sea, the group's military spokesperson, Yahya Sarea, said in a televised speech this evening, cited by Reuters. He said the ships were targeted with a number of naval missiles and drones.

Houthis' Red Sea attacks, carried out in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, have significantly disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to re-route to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa.

There have been no casualties from Houthi attacks, while joint UK-US strikes on Yemen, meant to deter further hinderances to global shipping have killed around 100 people.

22:37 Beirut Time

In a statement published today, the Lebanese Kataeb party announced a set of conditions for accepting any "external initiative that would end the danger facing Lebanon as a result of the ongoing conflict in the region," including that only the Lebanese Army can hold weapons and defend the country.

👉 Read the full report here.

21:28 Beirut Time

Here are the latest updates from the Lebanese-Israeli border:

• Hezbollah announced that it targeted the village of Kfar Blum, located six kilometers southeast of the city of Kiryat Shmona, with dozens of Katyusha missiles at 8:10 p.m.

The party also said that, at the same time, it hit a building in Kiryat Shmona, "causing confirmed casualties." According to the party's statements, the attacks were in response to the "Israeli attacks on southern [Lebanese] villages and homes and especially the [killing] of a woman, her husband, and her son in the town of Hula."

Citing Israeli media, Al Jazeera reported earlier that around 70 missiles were launched towards the city of Kiryat Shmona.

• Hezbollah also announced that it hit the headquarters of the "769th territorial brigade in the Kiryat Shmona barracks" at 2:30 p.m. At around the same time, Haaretz reported that rocket shrapnel fell in several areas in northern Israel near Kiryat without causing casualties.

• Hezbollah also said that it hit a deployment of Israeli soldiers stationed behind the Israeli site of Baghdadi, which faces the Lebanese border village of Mais al-Jabal, at 6:30 p.m.

• Israeli warplanes dropped incendiary balloons over the regions of Sour, Bint Jbeil, Zahrani and Barouk, residents told our correspondent in the South.

20:19 Beirut Time

"Some 17,000 children have been orphaned in the Gaza Strip," announced the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) on its X account. UNRWA also revealed that one in six children under the age of two suffers from acute malnutrition in the north of the enclave.

"Babies are slowly perishing before the eyes of the whole world," the agency denounced. "Children dying from bombs, even more now dying from consequences of siege. These horrific deaths entirely preventable."

The Gaza Health Ministry announced yesterday that 15 children have now died from malnutrition and dehydration at Kamal Adwan Hospital, in the north of the enclave where aid deliveries are severely limited as a result of Israeli restrictions and devastation from nearly five months of war. A 16th child died at a hospital in Rafah on Sunday, from malnutrition. 

19:55 Beirut Time

Chris Osieck, an open source intelligence (OSINT) researcher, collaborator with Geoconfirmed, and contributor to Bellingcat, shared satellite imagery on his X account showing the exact coordinates of the Israeli strike that targeted Kafra earlier this afternoon.

19:35 Beirut Time

Hezbollah MP Ali Fayyad declared that the Israeli attack that killed three Hezbollah paramedics Monday afternoon in the village of Adaisseh "will not go unpunished," according to state-run National News Agency.

"The enemy seeks to increase the cost of our confrontation so he continues to kill and destroy," said Fayyad, speaking from the southern Lebanese village of Adsheet during the commemoration ceremony of two of the rescue workers who were killed.

"We acknowledge his ability to destroy, kill and be brutal, but destruction will not lead to his victory, nor will killing lead to achieving his goals."

He also said that the visits to Lebanon made by delegates and diplomats seeking for the situation to return the way it was before Oct. 7 will "not lead to any results."

👉 Read the full report here.

19:14 Beirut Time

Here's what's been happening at the Lebanese-Israeli border in the past two hours, apart from the strike that killed three people in Hula:

• Residents reported that Israeli warplanes destroyed a house in the outskirts of Kafra and raided the village of Aita al-Shaab, Bint Jbeil district.

• Residents reported that Israeli warplanes targeted a house in the village of Dhayra, Sour district.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Yaroun, Rmaish, Bint Jbeil district, and Rashaya Fawqar, Hasbaya district, according to residents.

• Hezbollah announced that it targeted the Israeli site of Ruwaisat al-Alam in the Kfarshouba hills at 5 p.m. with missiles.

• Israel showered with heavy machine gun fire the residential neighborhood of the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Kila, Marjayoun.

18:53 Beirut Time

Smoke billows from the site of an Israeli strike on Lebanon's southern village of Hula on March 5, 2024. (Credit: AFP)

18:24 Beirut Time

🔴 BREAKING: At least three people were killed in an Israeli airstrike that targeted a house in the southern Lebanese village of Hula, in Marjeyoun district, the mayor of the village told L'Orient Today's correspondent in the South, citing a medical source.

The victims of the attack are a married couple, Hassan Ali Kassem and Roueida Moustapha, and their 25-year-old son, Ali, according to the medical source and other residents of the village.

17:40 Beirut Time

An estimated 8,000 patients need evacuation out of the Gaza Strip, the World Health Organization says, voicing frustration that few have so far been transferred outside the besieged territory, AFP reports.

The WHO said moving such patients out of Gaza would relieve some of the strain on the medics and hospitals that are struggling to keep functioning in a war zone.

"We estimate that 8,000 Gazans need to be referred outside Gaza," Rik Peeperkorn, the WHO representative in the Palestinian territories, told a press briefing in Geneva via video link from Jerusalem.

Of those, an estimated 6,000 are related to the conflict, including patients with multiple trauma injuries, burns and amputations, he said.

👉Read the full report here.

16:54 Beirut Time

Here are updates from the last 45 minutes at the Lebanon-Israel border, according to residents’ testimonies, relayed by our correspondent in the South:

• Israeli warplanes targeted a three-story house in an area between Zibqin and Jbal al-Botm, in Sour district. A person who was near the targeted house at the time of the strike was slightly injured. Civil defense teams were dispatched to site of the strike. We have not received reports of other casualties so far.

• Israeli warplanes targeted a house in the outskirts of Majdal Zoun, Sour district. Ambulances belonging to the Amal-affiliated al-Risala Scout Association were dispatched to the site of the strike.

• Israeli warplanes struck the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab, Bint Jbeil district.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted orchards in the village of Wazzani, Hasbaya district.

16:37 Beirut Time

Packages fall towards Gaza, after being dropped from a military aircraft, as seen from Israel's border with Gaza, March 5, 2024. (Credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)

US cargo planes dropped more than 36,000 meals into Gaza today in a joint operation with Jordan, a US military source said, cited by AFP, as international efforts to stem a humanitarian crisis intensify.

"US Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conducted a combined humanitarian aid drop in northern Gaza on March 5, 2024 at 2:30 p.m. [Gaza time] to provide critical assistance to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict," the military command said in a statement.

16:19 Beirut Time

A Hamas official says that the group’s delegation will extend its stay in Cairo for one more day in order to continue the cease-fire talks with Egyptian and Qatari mediators, Reuters reports.

Earlier today it was announced that the talks had ended without a breakthrough. Mediators are hoping to reach an agreement that would start in tandem with Ramadan, which begins next week.

16:08 Beirut Time

Updates from the Lebanon-Israel border:

• Hezbollah announced that its fighters killed and wounded Israeli soldiers inside a Merkava tank in the northern Israeli village of Netu’a, located opposite the Lebanese border village of Rmeish, in Bint Jbeil district, at 2:15 p.m. According to the party’s statement, Hezbollah fighters fired a missile on the tank while it was "bombing Lebanese villages and civilians."

• Hezbollah stated that it targeted the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona at 2:20 p.m. in response to "the Israeli attacks on southern villages and civilian houses and especially the attack on the city of Bint Jbeil." Last night, an Israeli air raid targeted a house in Bint Jbeil killing one person.

Earlier today, Haaretz reported that rocket shrapnel fell in several locations near Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel, without causing casualties.

• Hezbollah announced that it targeted and hit a gathering of Israeli soldiers in the hill of Taihat with missiles at 2:30 p.m.

15:33 Beirut Time

The Israeli police said that rocket shrapnel fell in several locations near Kiryat Shmona in Northern Israel, according to Haaretz.

The Israeli newspaper added that property was damaged, but no casualties have been reported.

Meanwhile, the Kiryat Shmona municipality reported that a building was struck by a rocket fired from Lebanon, without causing casualties.

The strike on Kiryat Shmona has not been claimed yet, by Hezbollah or another group.

15:31 Beirut Time

The US military said that it airdropped more than 36,000 meals into Gaza in a joint operation with the Jordanian military, AFP reports, marking the second time that the US has airdropped food into the besieged enclave.

"US Central Command and the Royal Jordanian Air Force conducted a combined humanitarian assistance airdrop into Northern Gaza on March 5, 2024, at 2:30 p.m. (Gaza time) to provide essential relief to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict," the US military said in a statement.

15:19 Beirut Time

"Hezbollah's aggression brings us closer to a critical point in the decision-making process regarding military action in Lebanon," Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on X, following a discussion with US envoy Amos Hochstein, who was touring Lebanon the previous day.

"We are committed to the diplomatic process, but Hezbollah's aggression brings us closer to a critical point in decision-making about military action in Lebanon. We are determined to change the security situation on our northern border and ensure the safe return of displaced communities to their homes in northern Israel," concluded the Minister.

14:59 Beirut Time

The latest developments in southern Lebanon:

- Israeli artillery fired several shells on the outskirts of Taybeh (Marjayoun) at around 11:30 a.m., according to local residents.

- Hezbollah claimed responsibility for an attack carried out at 12.05 p.m. on an Israeli military convoy at the Birket Risha site, hitting the convoy and "destroying its equipment." according to the party.

- After 1.30 p.m., residents of Khiam (Marjayoun) reported that three shells hit the outskirts of their village. Israeli artillery also targeted Aita al-Shaab and the outskirts of Wazzani, according to residents. An interceptor missile exposed the skies over Aita al-Shaab and Rmaish (Bint Jbeil).

14:47 Beirut Time

An estimated 8,000 patients in Gaza need to be evacuated from the enclave to help relieve some of the pressure on Gaza's already struggling hospitals, 22 out of 36 of which are completely out of service, the World Health Organization said, according to AFP.

Of the 8,000 patients, 6,000 of them are individuals injured by the war while the remaining 2,000 are normal patients. 2,293 patients were transferred out of Gaza between Oct. 7 and Feb. 20.

According to the WHO's representative in the Palestinian territories, the organization had been working on evacuations since November, but expressed frustration because "we don't understand ... why is it essentially not happening."

Read the full story here.

14:03 Beirut Time

Hamas has rejected UN accusations of rapes allegedly committed on Oct. 7, in a statement posted on its Telegram channel.

The Islamist party denounced "attempts to demonize the Palestinian resistance." "These accusations will not succeed in making us forget the fact that nearly 40,000 Palestinians have been killed, the majority of them women and children," the text said.

At the end of February, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, called on Israeli women victims of alleged Hamas sexual crimes to "break the silence" and tell their stories.

13:26 Beirut Time

Belgium has sent a military aircraft loaded with humanitarian aid to be dropped over Gaza, as part of an international operation involving the USA, France and Jordan, Belgian officials told AFP.

The humanitarian aid will first be flown to Jordan, where Jordanian officials will inspect it before it is dropped over Palestinian territory on Wednesday at the earliest, said Colonel Bruno Beeckmans, commander of the Belgian air base at Melsbroek, near Brussels, where the plane took off.

12:45 Beirut Time

(Credit: NNA)

In an interview with Lebanese journalists in Sydney, Abbas Ibrahim, the influential former head of Lebanon's General Security (GS), said he was "not afraid of Lebanon tipping over into a war" with Israel, as reported by the official National News Agency (NNA).

An assurance that the former senior civil servant, who retired in 2023, justified by citing the fact that Israel "cannot defend itself with its own forces" and must rely on supplies of American munitions.

He also cites the "poor economic situation" in Israel, which must "realize that it is no longer a safe place" for people of the Jewish faith.

He also considered that the US "must make critical decisions, especially in light of the unprecedented division in American public opinion regarding the situation in Gaza."

11:53 Beirut Time

Reuters reports that cease-fire talks in Cairo broke up today with no significant breakthroughs being made that would bring a halt to the fighting before the start of Ramadan.

Hamas, following two days of talks, presented its own cease-fire proposal and is now waiting for an Israeli response.

"Netanyahu doesn't want to reach an agreement and the ball now is in the Americans' court [to press him for a deal," Hamas official Bassem Naim stated.

Israel refused to take part in these recent talks because it demanded that Hamas provide a full list of the remaining living hostages first, something that Hamas says is impossible without a cease-fire as the hostages are scattered around and being held by various groups.

11:53 Beirut Time

More than 34 bodies of Palestinians who were killed arrived at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and the European Hospital in Khan Younis over the past 24 hours, Wafa news agency reports.

According to medical sources, nine bodies arrived at Al-Shifa Hospital. At least 25 others arrived at the European Hospital – 17 of them victims in the Israeli bombing of the Faqawi family home overnight.

11:47 Beirut Time

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz criticized UN chief Antonio Guterres, saying on X that the latter had "brought the organization down to its lowest level."

Katz announced on Monday that he had recalled Israel's UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, for consultations regarding what he said was "an attempt to keep silent about the serious report concerning the mass rapes committed by Hamas and its acolytes on Oct. 7.″

11:21 Beirut Time

Israel’s army has said it destroyed the largest tunnel uncovered so far in the Gaza Strip.

A statement on X said the tunnel, which had been first discovered on Dec. 16, had several branches.

The statement said the tunnel was dug from northern Gaza towards Israel but did not reach the Israeli territory.

It was explored by the military through the weeks.

11:04 Beirut Time

Gaza's health ministry raised the death toll in the enclave to 30,631 with 97 deaths in the last 24 hours.

The ministry added that 72,043 people have been injured since Israel's offensive in Gaza began following Hamas's surprise attack on Oct. 7.

10:55 Beirut Time

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati reiterated the official Lebanese position on the war in Gaza and its spillover into southern Lebanon, in a speech delivered at the opening of the 2024 edition of the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development, taking place from March 5 to 7 at ESCWA headquarters in Beirut.

"Our common work to build a better future for our present and future generations, and to make our region a place of peace and prosperity, requires first and foremost an end to Israeli aggression against South Lebanon and Gaza," said the head of the Lebanese government.

He also called for the implementation of Resolution 1701 of 2006, which imposes a complete cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah and urged the international community to resolve the "Palestinian question, whose flame has not been extinguished despite everything Israel is doing to annihilate it by killing, destroying and annihilating it."

10:52 Beirut Time

Turkish authorities arrested seven people for allegedly spying for Israel's foreign intelligence service, the Mossad, AFP reports.

According to the authorities, the seven individuals, which included a special detective, passed information to Mossad for money.

In January, another 34 people were detained on charges of working with Mossad to spy and plan abductions. At the time, authorities said that another 12 people remained at large.

Following the January arrests, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he was "seriously disturbed" by Israel and that they would "get to know Turkey."

10:39 Beirut Time

Photo provided by L'Orient Today's correspondent in southern Lebanon Muntasser Abdallah

"We have not yet used all our weapons. The weapons reserves for open warfare have not yet been deployed, and the enemy knows it," stated the head of Hezbollah's parliamentary group Mohammad Raad, in a speech held in Kfar Melki, a village in the Saida district.

"The enemy is trying to infiltrate in places to pretend it's sticking to the rules of deterrence, but there are misses here and there. The enemy knows that if it wants to violate the rules of deterrence, it'll be in big trouble," he continued. "We hope the enemy will slip up and commit to its mistake."

09:33 Beirut Time

The US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) has said that it conducted self-defense strikes against two Houthi anti-ship cruise missiles in Yemen that presented an “imminent threat to merchant vessels and US Navy ships.”

CENTCOM also reported that the Houthis fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles from Yemen at a Liberian-flagged, Swiss-owned container vessel in the Gulf of Aden. One of the missiles struck the ship but there were no reported injuries.

The Houthis also fired a missile into the southern Red Sea but it impacted the water.

09:32 Beirut Time

Here is a wrap-up of the situation in southern Lebanon from last night and this morning:

- Residents of the town of Sultaniya (Bint Jbeil) reported that search operations continued this morning to remove the rubble of the house that was targeted by Israeli warplanes last night, to ensure that there were no casualties under the rubble.

- One of the people who was injured last night in the raid that targeted a house in Bint Jbeil died this morning from his wounds, the mayor of Bint Jbeil told L'Orient Today. It is yet known whether he was a civilian or a Hezbollah fighter.

- Last night at 10 p.m., Israeli jets bombed a house on the outskirts of the town of Siddiqin (Sour). Two ambulances headed to the targeted area. The house was destroyed, but no injuries were reported, according to a security source.

- Artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Tyr Harfa (Sour) last night at 10 p.m., a security source said

- Israeli artillery shelling targeted Wadi Hassan between the towns of Majdal Zoun and Tyr Harfa (Sour) with a number of shells at 10 p.m. yesterday.

- Hezbollah said it attacked at 9:50 p.m., last night, the Gasher Haziv Israeli site, near Nahariyah in northern Israel in response to the Israeli attack on one of its medical centers in the town of Adaisseh (Marjayoun district,) leading to the death of three paramedics

- Hezbollah said that at 10:20 p.m. it targeted Israeli vehicles at the Israeli al-Baghdadi site.

- Hezbollah said it targeted at 1 am on Tuesday an Israeli military force moving in the vicinity of the Raheb site, facing the Lebanese southern town of Aita al-Shaab.

09:25 Beirut Time

Philippe Lazzarini also accused Israel of inflicting abuse on Palestinians taken prisoner in Gaza since the start of the war.

The agency had earlier on Monday accused the Israeli authorities of having committed acts of "torture" against some of its employees arrested in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7.

Israel on Monday recalled its ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, to denounce the "silence" of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on alleged sexual violence by Hamas during the unprecedented attacks of Oct. 7.

09:23 Beirut Time

According to the UN, starvation is "almost inevitable" for Gaza's 2.2 million inhabitants, the vast majority of the population, with humanitarian aid arriving only in dribs and drabs despite immense needs.

This catastrophic situation is exacerbated by tensions between the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and Israel, which is calling for its dismantling. Israel accuses the agency of employing "more than 450 terrorists" from Hamas and other organizations in Gaza and claims that 12 of its employees were involved in the Oct. 7 attack.

Such a dismantling would be "ill-considered," declared UNRWA boss Philippe Lazzarini before the UN General Assembly.

09:21 Beirut Time

Before any agreement can be reached, Hamas is demanding a definitive cease-fire, an increase in humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and an Israeli military withdrawal from the strip.

Israel rejects these conditions, saying it wants to continue its offensive until Hamas is eliminated.

The Israeli army has killed 30,534 people in the enclave, most of them civilians, according to the Gazan Ministry of Health. On the Israeli side, at least 1,160 people were killed in the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, most of them civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.

09:20 Beirut Time

Egyptian, American and Qatari mediators are trying to extract a compromise from both sides that would allow the release of hostages held in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The United States, Israel's main supporter, is calling with increasing insistence for a cease-fire because of the humanitarian catastrophe that the war has caused in the Gaza Strip.

At a meeting on Monday with Benny Gantz, a member of Israel's war cabinet and a major political rival of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Vice President Kamala Harris expressed her "deep concern" for Gaza and called on Hamas to "accept the conditions that are on the table."

09:20 Beirut Time

The situation in Gaza:

Negotiations between Hamas and international mediators continue in Cairo on Tuesday in the hope of reaching a second truce in Gaza before Ramadan, which begins on March 10 or 11, after almost five months of war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement.

"The second day of negotiations in Cairo with the United States, Hamas and Qatar has ended and talks are due to resume [on Tuesday] to study ways of achieving a truce in the Gaza Strip," the Egyptian channel AlQahera News, close to the country's intelligence services, announced on Monday evening, citing "a senior official".

"There has been significant progress in the negotiations," which resumed on Sunday without an Israeli representative, the official said.

09:16 Beirut Time
09:15 Beirut Time

Good morning!

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