Two people stand in the doorway of a building neighboring a two-story building that was destroyed in an Israeli strike in the al-Ansar area in Baalbeck, on March 11, 2024. (Credit: Sarah Abdallah/L'Orient Today)


Israeli airstrikes target Baalbeck, one civilian killed, several injured: Day 157 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Hezbollah claimed attack on an Israeli army base in Golan Heights.

Mikati is maintaining contact with all concerned parties to "keep the war away from Lebanon." 

Israel launches dozens of strikes on Gaza City, Khan Younis and Rafah.

Three commanders from the Islamic Group's al-Fajr Forces were killed in an Israeli strike on southern Lebanon.

Jordan says Israel's al-Aqsa Mosque restrictions are "playing with fire."

00:25 Beirut Time

🔴 Updates on the strikes on Baalbeck:

At least one civilian has been killed in the Israeli airstrikes on Baalbeck according to two security sources and the Baalbek governor, Bashir Khader, who spoke to Reuters.

One of the strikes hit the southern entrance to the city of Baalbek, at least 2 km (1.2 miles) from the ancient Roman ruins, the security sources said.

00:00 Beirut Time

We're closing today's live coverage of the Gaza war and its spillover in Lebanon and the region. We'll be back tomorrow with more news updates and analysis. Thanks for joining us.

23:38 Beirut Time

The Israeli airstrike in al-Ansar, east of the city of Baalbek, targeted a two-story house, a security source told our correspondent in the Bekaa, Sarah Abdallah. The house belonged to the Alam family.

All of the six wounded who were taken to Dar al-Amal Hospital were in the targeted house, the source added.

23:32 Beirut Time

Smoke rises from the site of an Israeli airstrike on the district of Baalbeck, on March 11, 2024. (Credit: Sent by residents to our correspondent in the region)

23:10 Beirut Time

Updates on the Israeli air raid on Baalbeck:

One of the airstrikes targeted a wood storage warehouse belonging to a man from the Husseini family, located between the villages of Shmustar and Taraya, in the district of Baalbeck

The other airstrike targeted the village of al-Ansar, also in the district of Baalbeck.

So far, six injuries have been reported as a result of the strike and the wounded were transported to hospitals in the area, according to L'Orient Today's correspondent in the region, Sarah Abdallah.

22:55 Beirut Time

⚡ BREAKING: The Israeli army targeted the district of Baalbeck with four missiles, carrying out two airstrikes in two locations and firing two missiles in each, residents of the area told L'Orient Today. It was not immediately clear what the target was. This is the second time Baalbek has been struck since the beginning of cross-border fighting between Hezbollah and Israel. The first strike was on Feb. 27.

21:29 Beirut Time

Hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters shut down a major section of Hollywood last night in the hours leading up to the Oscars, causing major traffic jams on Hollywood’s biggest night. Variety reported that with only a few minutes to go before the telecast’s scheduled start time, most of the venue was still empty and the event was very low on celebrities, stuck in rows of backed-up SUVs.

The broadcast started five-minutes late — videos show stars running down the red carpet to their seats. Actor Mark Ruffalo raised a fist to the cameras saying “We’re late, we’re late! The Palestinian protest shut down the Oscars tonight! Humanity wins!”

Protesters shut down Sunset Boulevard, marching down the street with signs that read “No awards for genocide,” and driving school buses draped with Palestinian flags, Variety reported.

Celebrities and industry big-wigs were stuck in traffic for an hour. Some got out of their cars and walked, while production staffers sent golf carts to collect others less willing to abandon their rides. The Dolby Theatre, where the Oscars are held, used seat-fillers until the real ticket holders arrived.

Several attendees wore red pins in support of Artists for Ceasefire.

19:35 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in a video statement that Israel had killed the Hamas “number four” and that “three, two, and one” are next, according to a report in the Guardian.

Netanyahu told viewers “We are on the way to total victory. On the way to this victory, we already eliminated number four in Hamas. Three, two, and one are on the way. They are all dead men, we will reach them all.”

It is unclear who Netanyahu was referring to, although Israeli media speculate he meant deputy political leader Saleh al-Arouri, who was assassinated in Beirut early-January, in what was seen at the time as the first strike in an expected campaign of overseas assassinations promised by Israeli officials after Oct. 7. Israel has never directly claimed the strike.

Israeli media has also reported that Israel’s military is investigating whether it killed Hamas’ number three, Marwan Issa, over the weekend. The deputy head of the group’s military wing was reportedly killed in an airstrike Sunday.

19:16 Beirut Time

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

• Hezbollah announced four attacks against an Israeli drone at 4 p.m. which they said forced it to retreat to the Israeli territories and a fifth attack around the same time against an Israeli artillery position and a military brigade facing the southern Lebanese village of Dhaira in Sour district.

• The party also said that at 4 p.m. its fighters attacked an Israeli position facing the disputed area of Kfarchouba heights, which Hezbollah claims as Lebanese territory, and attacked shortly after, at 4:10 p.m., an Israeli position facing the southern Lebanese village of Markaba, in Marjayoun district.

• Local residents told L'Orient Today's correspondent in the South that the drone which crashed earlier this afternoon in Halta, Hasbaya district, was "rigged" and the Lebanese Army detonated it at the crash site.

18:18 Beirut Time

Photo taken by the event organizers and supplied by our correspondent in North Lebanon, Michel Hallak.

A demonstration of solidarity with Gaza took place today in Tripoli, North Lebanon, as Ramadan began for some Muslims today. The march was organized on the initiative of several local scout associations and the National Youth Union.

Local authorities, including the head of the Tripoli municipality, Riad Yamaq, took part in the event.

18:06 Beirut Time

Hezbollah members take part in the funeral of four members of one family killed by in Israeli air raid in southern Lebanon days earlier, today in Blida, near the border with Israel. (Credit: Hassan Fneich/AFP)

17:08 Beirut Time

Israel "respects" the freedom to pray, but will be "ready" to respond to any provocation or outbursts during the month of Ramadan, which began today, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a video message.

"The State of Israel respects the freedom to pray at al-Aqsa and all holy sites," Gallant assured in the message posted on his Telegram channel, and relayed by AFP. But "the month of Ramadan can also be a month of jihad, and we say to everyone: don't look for us. We are ready, don't make a mistake", he warned.

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi says that restrictions imposed by Israel on Muslim worshippers' access to al-Aqsa compound was pushing the situation towards an "explosion," Reuters reports.

In remarks on state media, Safadi said his country, which overviews the holy site, rejected Israel's announced move to limit access during Ramadan, citing security needs with war raging in Gaza.

"We warn that desecrating the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque is playing with fire," Safadi said in a joint news conference with the Vatican's foreign minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher.

16:41 Beirut Time

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib told Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Barış Ulusoy  that "Lebanon seeks to stabilize its borders and establish lasting calm through the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701," during a meeting between the two officials in Beirut today.

The meeting was held in order to discuss the spillover of the war in Gaza onto the border between southern Lebanon and northern Israel, as well as the situation of displaced Syrians in Lebanon and the third edition of the Antalya Diplomatic Forum held in early March.

16:11 Beirut Time

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

• An unidentified drone fell in the village of Halta, Hasbaya district, residents of the village told our correspondent in the South. According to local media reports, the drone fell as a result of a technical malfunction but L'Orient Today could not independently verify this claim.

• Rocket sirens sounded in Shtula in northern Israel, Haaretz reported.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Aita al-Shaab, Bint Jbeil district, residents told our correspondent in the South.

• Hezbollah announced that it targeted, with artillery shells, a deployment of Israeli soldiers in the vicinity of the Israeli site of Raheb, facing the Lebanese border town of Aita al-Shaab, at 3 p.m.

15:58 Beirut Time

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for "silencing the guns" in Gaza "to honor the spirit of Ramadan" which has just begun, according to remarks reported by AFP.

"Today marks the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, a time when Muslims around the world celebrate and propagate the values of peace, reconciliation and solidarity. But even with the start of Ramadan, the deaths, bombings and carnage continue in Gaza," he told reporters. He also called for the release of the hostages.

14:08 Beirut Time

An explosion was heard Monday near a ship close off the coast in the Red Sea near Yemen, the UK Maritime Safety Agency UKMTO reported, adding that the ship and its crew were unharmed.

The ship "reported the sound of an explosion in its vicinity" southwest of the Yemeni port of Salif, UKMTO said, adding that members of a US-led multinational coalition, set up in December to protect shipping from attacks by Yemeni Houthi rebels, was investigating.

14:04 Beirut Time

Here is what happened on the Lebanese-Israeli border since 11:45 a.m.:

- Hezbollah said that it targeted a group of Israeli soldiers deployed in "Tallet Taihat," facing the Lebanese village of Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun) at 11:45 a.m.

- Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Ramieh and Yaroun (Bint Jbeil), residents told our correspondent in the South.

13:58 Beirut Time

Funeral of Mohammad Ibrahim, a "commander" of the Jamaa Islamiya's al-Fajr Forces in Hebbarieh. (Credit: Mohamad Yassin/L'Orient Today)

13:44 Beirut Time

In Gaza, dozens of Israeli bombardments targeted several regions of the Palestinian territory, according to Gazan authorities quoted by AFP, including Gaza City, Khan Younis and Rafah.

"The start of Ramadan is covered in darkness, with the taste of blood and the stench everywhere," Awni al-Kayyal, a 50-year-old displaced man in Rafah, told AFP. "I woke up in my tent and started crying about our fate. Suddenly, I heard explosions and shelling. I saw ambulances carrying away the dead and wounded," he recounted, adding that his family would have "no food on the dinner table" after the breaking of the fast on Monday evening.

13:41 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced the death of one of its members; Ali Zein from Sohmor (Bekaa). L'Orient Today could not immediately confirm where Zein was killed, but a Sohmor resident contacted by our correspondent in the Bekaa mentioned he was previously injured and succumbed to his wounds. According to our court, 242 Hezbollah members have been killed in Lebanon and Syria since the fighting between the party and Israel began on Oct. 8.

13:36 Beirut Time

Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, said he was "continuing contacts with all concerned, in Lebanon and abroad, to keep the war away from Lebanon, despite everything our country has suffered up to now," referring, in particular, to "the number of martyrs" killed since October. "With God's grace, things will go no further", he said from Dar el-Fatwa, after a meeting with Mufti Abdellatif Deriane, the highest Sunni authority in Lebanon, on the occasion of the first day of Ramadan.

13:07 Beirut Time

Preparing shelters in underground parking lots, transferring food: In recent weeks, the Israeli army's home front command has launched "Operation Stable Anchor," aimed at preparing the logistics for a potential all-out war with Hezbollah, as reported yesterday by the Israeli media Ynet News, part of the Yediot Aharonot group.

This information was picked up by several titles in the Israeli press, at a time when numerous media reports are circulating on preparations for a possible Israeli offensive against South Lebanon, and negotiations on a truce in Gaza and possibly South Lebanon are stalling.

Read more about the Israeli preparations here.

12:17 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced that it launched, at 10:25 a.m., four one-way drones on the Israeli "air and missile defense headquarters" in the "Kilaa barracks" and hit it. The barracks are located in the Golan Heights. Meanwhile, the Israeli army said that "two suspicious aircraft crossed from Lebanon and fell in the northern Golan Heights, causing no casualties or damage," according to Haaretz.

Hezbollah also said that it hit the Israeli site of Jal al-Alam, opposite Labbouneh, at 10:25 a.m.

11:28 Beirut Time

Here is what happened on the Lebanese-Israeli border since 10:10 a.m.:

- According to a security source relayed by our correspondent in the South, missiles were fired from southern Lebanon towards Israeli sites.

- Sirens sounded twice in northern Israel for "possible aircraft infiltration," according to Haaretz.

-⁠ ⁠Until now, no strike has been claimed by Hezbollah or other groups active along the border.

- Israeli jets targeted a house on the outskirts of Jibbayn (Sour), residents told our correspondent in the South.

10:29 Beirut Time

Photo provided by our correspondent in South Lebanon

A small Israeli drone dropped leaflets over Wazzani (Hasbaya), the mayor of the village told our correspondent in the South. The leaflets fell on roads and houses' roofs in the village.

According to a resident of the village, the leaflet includes the following: "Resident of the South, Hezbollah risks your life, the life of your families and your homes. Hezbollah is bringing its members and weapons depots to your neighborhoods."

"We know it is a psychological war on the village, we are staying even though the leaflets have alarmed the residents," the mayor said.

Wazzani is regularly targeted by machine guns from Israeli positions, which injured at least two people in the past weeks.

10:11 Beirut Time

The Biden administration is not "anticipating that Israeli forces will imminently expand their military operations into Rafah," two US officials told CNN.

As of this weekend, the "Biden administration has yet to see any kind of humanitarian or evacuation plan from the Israeli government that seeks to ensure the safety of civilians in Rafah before launching a military operation there," the two US officials said according to CNN.

Read the full CNN report here.

10:07 Beirut Time

The Gazan Ministry of Health has announced a new toll of 31,112 people killed in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement, according to AFP.

Of these, 67 were killed in the last 24 hours, the ministry said in a statement, adding that a total of 72,760 people have been wounded since the war began on Oct. 7.

09:26 Beirut Time

Last night on the Lebanese-Israeli border:

- In the evening, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for a strike carried out earlier in the afternoon against soldiers deployed near the "Birkat Richa" site, opposite the Lebanese village of Houla (Marjayoun), using Burkan missiles.

- At around 11 p.m., an Israeli aircraft struck a house near the Taybeh public school (Majayoun), security sources said.

09:24 Beirut Time

It was a deadly weekend in southern Lebanon. After a strike on Khirbet Silm that left several people dead on Saturday evening, including three Hezbollah members belonging to the same family, Jamaa Islamiya, a Lebanese Islamist political party stemming from the Muslim Brotherhood, announced the deaths of three of its "commanders" on Saturday. According to our local correspondent, they were killed in a drone strike on a car in Hebbarieh (Hasbaya).

In a statement, the party announced that its armed wing, the Fajr Forces, had lost three commanders: Mohammad Mahieddine (from Beirut) Hussein Darwiche, from Shihim (Iqlim al-Kharroub) and Mohammad Ibrahim, from Hebbarieh, were killed "on a jihadist mission in Arkoub, southern Lebanon while facing the army of the Zionist occupation."

09:22 Beirut Time

Jordan, the United States, France, Belgium and Egypt took part in new airdrop deliveries of humanitarian aid to Gaza yesterday. But the UN, which warns of "almost inevitable widespread starvation" in Gaza, says that airdropping and sending aid by sea are no substitutes for ground deliveries.

09:20 Beirut Time

In Gaza, the starving population is desperately waiting for food. A ship loaded with 200 tons of food, chartered by the Spanish NGO Open Arms, was due to leave Cyprus yesterday for the Palestinian territory, but its departure has not been confirmed, according to AFP.

On Sunday, residents took to the beach in southern Gaza City in the hope of seeing it arrive. "I've been waiting since this morning," as Monday "begins the holy month of Ramadan and the situation is tragic," one of them, Mohammad Harrara, told AFP.

09:19 Beirut Time

Today marks the holy month of Ramadan for a majority of Muslim countries, including Palestine. For Muslims around the world, Ramadan is synonymous with prayer, spirituality and joyous meals at nightfall. But this year, the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza is on everyone's mind.

09:16 Beirut Time
09:15 Beirut Time

Good morning!

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