This picture taken from Israel along the border with southern Lebanon shows smoke billowing near the Lebanese village of Khiam during Israeli bombardment on March 12, 2024. (Credit: Jalaa Marey/AFP)


Israel claims 4,500 strikes on Lebanon since fighting began: Day 158 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Israel performed several airstrikes on the Bekaa this afternoon, killing one and injuring at least seven others.

Hamas and Israel are not close to reaching a cease-fire agreement, Qatari officials said.

Hezbollah fired "over 100 rockets" at Israeli positions this morning in response to the strikes on Baalbeck last night.

22:10 Beirut Time

That's it for today's live coverage of the Gaza war and it's consequences in Lebanon and the region. Thanks for joining us — we'll be back tomorrow with more news updates and analysis.

21:49 Beirut Time

L’Orient-Le Jour’s Matthieu Karam and Emmanuel Haddad visited the site of the Israeli strikes in Baalbeck today and witnessed the damage caused by Monday’s raids. The roof had collapsed and beneath the rubble were crumbled cinderblocks, barrels of olive oil, hospital beds, and the shells of cars. The timber warehouse had served many purposes. Hezbollah members secured the site of the strike with a yellow ribbon.

"This building housed an olive oil press, offices of the Ministry of Industry and a warehouse of the Dar al-Amal hospital," explained a Hezbollah source who accompanied our journalists to the scene.

Oil dripped from the first floor’s shattered windows. On the second floor, sofas had been ripped open. On the roof, the hospital director’s son, Mahmoud Alam had set up a table and chairs; the soccer team often gathered on the roof to spend evenings together. A hundred meters away, Mahmoud's house was blown up. 

👉 Read our full report here.

21:46 Beirut Time

At a summit next week, EU leaders are set to announce that “the European Council is deeply concerned about the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza,” according to draft conclusions seen by the Guardian.

They are also expected to urge “the Israeli government to refrain from a ground operation in Rafah” and to call for “an immediate humanitarian pause leading to a sustainable cease-fire,” the UK newspaper reported.

21:42 Beirut Time

In two separate statements, Hezbollah announced the deaths of two of its members. The first fighter killed was Mohammad Ali Jamal Yaacoub. He was born in 1988 and came from Baalbeck. The second is Sadek Hussein Jaafer. Born in 1970, he hailed from Jermach, in Bekaa. As usual, the party did not specify when or where its fighters were killed.

With these deaths, the number of Hezbollah fighters killed since Oct. 8, 2023 stands at 244, according to L'Orient Today's count.

21:09 Beirut Time

This handout photograph released on March 12, 2024 by the Proactiva Open Arms (POA) shows the Open Arms vessel with the humanitarian food aid at the Cypriot port of Larnaca. A Spanish charity ship taking 200 tonnes of humanitarian food aid to war-rav

20:52 Beirut Time

The first boat using a sea corridor between Cyprus and the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian aid left earlier today for the Palestinian territory, where it will arrive in "several days," the NGO that owns the boat told AFP. The shipment is expected to be followed by another.

The eponymous boat belonging to the Spanish NGO Open Arms is expected to take "several days" to reach the coast of the Gaza Strip, said Laura Lanuza, a spokesperson for the organization. She gave no further details.

According to the Vessel Finder website, at 6:00 p.m. GMT the boat was still some 175 nautical miles from the Gaza Strip, or just over 320 kilometers.

20:00 Beirut Time

Updates from the last hour in southern Lebanon:

• Hezbollah announced it attacked at 5:55 p.m. and 6:05 p.m. Israeli positions in the disputed areas of Kfarchouba Hills and Shebaa Farms, occupied by Israel and considered by Hezbollah to be Lebanese territory.

• The Israeli army opened fire on the outskirts of Adaisseh, in the Marjayoun district, residents of the village told L'Orient Today's correspondent in the South.

• The Israeli army shelled an area on Wadi al-Slouki and between Hula and Mais al-Jabal in Marjayoun district, residents of the village told L'Orient Today.

19:59 Beirut Time

Two people hold a picture of football player Mostapha Ali Ghreyeb during his funeral in Baalbeck. March 12, 2024. Ghreyeb was killed in an Israeli strike on Monday in Baalbeck. (Credit: Hezbollah's media office)

18:32 Beirut Time

The Lebanese Army Command decided today to resume patrolling the area south of the Litani River in coordination with UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon). Its troops’ operations were suspended three days ago when the two forces’ joint patrol came under fire from Israel, close to Aita al-Shaab, in Bint Jbeil district.

UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti told L'Orient-Le Jour that on March 9, small-arms gunfire coming from the south of the Blue Line — a UN-drawn temporary border between Israel and Lebanon — hit a Lebanese Army vehicle. “Fortunately, no one was injured,” Tenenti said, adding that UNIFIL is examining whether the patrol was being specifically targeted.

A source close to the army told OLJ that the gunfire hit the military vehicle "probably by mistake."

👉 Read the full report here.

18:22 Beirut Time

Palestinians walk down the staircase of a building heavily damaged from Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 12, 2024. (Credit: Mohammed Abed/AFP)

18:02 Beirut Time

Updates from southern Lebanon:

• Hezbollah announced that at 4 p.m. it successfully attacked the Israeli army position at Barka Richa, located opposite the southern Lebanese towns of Boustane and Marwahine, in Sour district, using Burkan missiles.

• Hezbollah claims to have repelled, “with appropriate weapons,” an Israeli drone at 4:15 p.m. after it had crossed into Lebanese airspace, without specifying the exact location of the incident.

• Hezbollah announced that it successfully attacked the Israeli Zar’it barracks, just east of the Barka Richa site, with Burkan missiles.

17:56 Beirut Time

The Israeli army says it has hit around 4,500 Hezbollah targets in Lebanon and Syria over the past five months, killing 300 of the group's fighters and wounding more than 750, AFP reports.

According to L’Orient Today’s count, 242 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in Lebanon and Syria since the start of the war. Israel has also killed 52 civilians and burned more than eight million square meters of forest in its strikes on southern Lebanon.

The Israeli army said in a statement that targets were hit from the air and from the ground and included "weapons storage facilities, military structures intended for Hezbollah's offensive activity and operational command and control centers.”

Israeli claims that five senior commanders were among those killed.

The official Israeli death toll in regards to its cross-border fighting with Hezbollah stands at 10 soldiers and 7 civilians, including one foreign worker.

17:35 Beirut Time

Israeli government spokesperson David Mercer confirmed that 100 missiles were launched towards Israel yesterday in an “unprecedented” attack that was claimed by Hezbollah.

During today’s press briefing, Mercer said that the Israeli army had destroyed three of the launchers used to fire the barrage of rockets.

Mercer said that the Israeli army “is ready for an escalation, it does not want an escalation.”

“We have no beef with the people of Lebanon,” Mercer said, implying that the conflict is with Hezbollah specifically. Israeli strikes on southern Lebanese have killed 51 civilians, according to our count, since cross-border fighting began — with the latest two having been killed last night and this morning in Baalbeck.

17:09 Beirut Time

A missile that fell on Hrajel, in Kesrouan district, photographed by residents prior to the Lebanese Army's arrival. (Credit: NNA)

An Israeli missile landed in the Lebanese village of Hrajel, three kilometers west of the popular skiing destination of Faraya today. The missile landed without exploding or causing any casualties, Tony Zoughaib, the Chairman of Hrajel’s Municipal Council told L'Orient-Le Jour.

The missile, which was "linked to a drone," the elected official claims, "obviously fell by mistake in the village, as it was heading towards the Bekaa for a raid."

👉 Read the full report here.

16:12 Beirut Time

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called on Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to step up the country's attacks against Lebanon. In a video posted to the minister's official X account, Ben-Gvir says, "Gallant, the army is your responsibility. What are you waiting for? More than 100 missiles, 100 launches on the State of Israel and you sit quietly? Let's start reacting, attacking, war — now."

Hezbollah announced that it fired "more than 100 Katyusha rockets" on Israeli targets this morning. In the Israeli government's daily briefing, spokesperson David Mencer confirmed that 70 missiles had been fired on northern Israel and 30 missiles at the Israeli-occupied, disputed Golan Heights.

15:56 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced that it hit "spy devices" in the Birkat Risha Israeli site, facing the Lebanese border town of Hula, and the Israeli Jal al-Alam site, which is located opposite the Lebanese border town of Labouneh. The hits occurred at 2:00 p.m. and 2:25 p.m. respectively.

14:50 Beirut Time

According to a security source relayed by our correspondent in the South, several rockets have been fired from Southern Lebanon towards Israeli sites.

13:56 Beirut Time

Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee announced on X that Israeli jets struck "Hezbollah compounds deep inside Lebanon."

"Earlier today, [Israeli] fighter jets struck two Hezbollah headquarters in the Baalbeck region, deep inside Lebanon, where Hezbollah was storing important means used by [the party] to build up its weapons capabilities," Adraee said.

"The strikes were in response to Hezbollah's rocket fire into northern Israel this morning," he added.

Finally, he said that the Israeli army "attacked a military building in the Khiam area and a terrorist structure in Bint Jbeil" in Southern Lebanon.

13:38 Beirut Time

The Gazan Ministry of Health has announced a new death toll of 31,184 in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war.

Of these, at least 72 were killed in the last 24 hours, the ministry said in a statement relayed by AFP, reporting a total of 72,889 wounded since Oct. 7.

13:35 Beirut Time

One person was killed and six others injured in the Israeli strike that targeted a plastic factory on the Sfari road that leads to Baalbeck, a security source told our correspondent in the Bekaa.

In Nabi Sheet (Baalbeck), one person was injured in the Israeli airstrike that targeted a building in the village, a security source told our correspondent in the Bekaa. The targeted building was nearly empty.

13:16 Beirut Time

Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas are no closer to reaching an agreement on a truce in the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of mediator country Qatar said on Tuesday, according to AFP.

"We're not close to an agreement, which means we don't see the two sides converging on language that can resolve the current disagreement on the implementation of an agreement," Majed al-Ansari told a press conference, adding that talks between the parties were continuing, after just over five months since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.

13:06 Beirut Time

The aftermath of the Israeli strike on Ansar last night in the Bekaa. It was the second time Israel had struck the area far from the border region since fighting began on Oct. 8 as well as the second time in less than a month. One person was killed in the strike on the two-story building. Israel said it targeted "Hezbollah's aerial forces" and that the strikes on the area were in response to the recent one-way drone attacks by Hezbollah on northern Israel. According to a Hezbollah source, the "building housed an olive oil factory, offices of the Ministry of Industry and a warehouse of the Dar al-Amal Hospital."

(Photo credit: Matthieu Karam/L'Orient Today)

12:57 Beirut Time

A new Israeli airstrike this time targeted the outskirts of the village of Nabi Sheet (Baalbeck) in the Bekaa, a source close to Hezbollah told our correspondent in the region.

Our correspondent also reported that a second strike on Nabi Sheet targeted a three-story building near the shrine of Abbas al-Moussawi, Hezbollah's second leader who was killed in an Israeli strike in 1992.

12:24 Beirut Time

Israeli jets bombed the Bekaa, a source close to Hezbollah told our correspondent in the region.

Israeli aircraft targeted the Sfari road leading to the town of Baalbeck.

12:21 Beirut Time

More details on the air strike that targeted Ansar, east of Baalbeck, on Monday night:

- The two-story building targeted is located 300 meters from the Baalbek international road. One of the two floors belongs to the regional department of the Lebanese Ministry of Industry. The other floor belongs to an olive oil factory.

- Israel targeted the house with two missiles. It was the second missile that destroyed the house. The soccer player who was killed, Moustafa Gharib, was on the roof of the house with two other people when the strike took place.

12:17 Beirut Time

The Israeli shekel weakened after Hezbollah fired a large rocket barrage at the country's north, according to Haaretz.

The shekel-dollar rose to 3.635, the shekel-euro rose by 0.5 percent to 3.95 shekels and the shekel-GBP rate rose by 0.3 percent to 4.65 shekels.

12:16 Beirut Time

The airstrike on Khiam (Marjayoun) targeted a house, residents of the village told our correspondent in the South. So far, no casualties have been reported.

11:57 Beirut Time

Al Jadeed reported yesterday that the Lebanese Army told the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) that the army decided to stop joint patrols with UNIFIL south of the Litani River "after a patrol came under Israeli fire two days ago."

On Saturday. a joint UNIFIL and Lebanese Army patrol came under fire in the vicinity of Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil). The shots were small-arms fire and came from "South of the Blue Line," UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti told L'Orient Today back then.

Today, al-Jadeed reported that the Lebanese army will resume its patrols with UNIFIL as of noon today following "the intervention of some countries."

Contacted by L'Orient Today, the Lebanese army could not confirm these reports.

Meanwhile, Tenenti told L'Orient Today that the UNIFIL and the Lebanese army are continuing with their joint patrolling activity.

"Today, we have a patrolling activity in the afternoon", he added.

11:55 Beirut Time

Here is what happened on the Lebanese-Israeli border since 10:15 a.m.:

- Hezbollah announced that it hit the Israeli Raheb site, facing Aita al-Shaab, with Burkan missiles at 10:15 a.m.

- Israeli jets carried out a raid on an empty house in the vicinity of the town of Bint Jbeil, residents told our correspondent in the South. A person, who happened to be passing by on his motorcycle at the scene of the attack, has been injured.

- Israeli jets fired missiles on the Kanaes neighborhood in the village of Khiam (Marjayoun), according to residents.

10:55 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced that it fired at 7 a.m. "more than 100 Katyusha rockets" on the Israeli "air and missile defense command headquarters in the Kila barracks, the missile and artillery base in Yoav and artillery launchers in its vicinity."

The party said that this attack was in response to the Israeli attack that targeted Baalback and the killing of a civilian the previous night.

Last night, Israel targeted a timber warehouse between the villages of Shmustar and Taraya (Baalbek-Hermel), and a two-story house in Ansar, east of Baalbeck, killing one and wounding six others.

10:50 Beirut Time

Photo of Moustafa Gharib who was killed in the Israeli airstrikes that targeted Baalbeck last night. Gharib was a football player with a local football club called "Shabab Baalbeck," according to a security source relayed by our correspondent in the Bekaa.

Gharib was at a targeted house that belongs to the al-Alam family in Ansar, east of Baalbeck, when the strike happened.

10:17 Beirut Time

The first ship using a sea corridor between Cyprus and the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territory on the brink of starvation left the Cypriot port of Larnaca this morning, one of the two NGOs in charge of the operation told AFP.

The ship belonging to Spanish NGO Open Arms, carrying 200 tons of food to be distributed in Gaza by Spanish-American chef José Andrés' organization, World Central Kitchen, "left" at around 06:50 GMT, said Open Arms spokeswoman Laura Lanuza.

09:55 Beirut Time

Israeli jets targeted the outskirts of the village of Sarireh (Jezzine), a security source told our correspondent in South Lebanon.

This was the first Israeli airstrike on the village since the start of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel on Oct. 8. The village links the districts of Hasbaya and Jezzine in the western Bekaa. But this is not the first time that towns in the Jezzine caza, which is far from the border zone, have been hit.

09:53 Beirut Time

In a statement issued this morning, Hezbollah said that Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah had received a "delegation of Hamas officials led by Hamas deputy head in Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya."

According to the statement, the two sides discussed "the latest developments on the ground in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the multiple supporting fronts."

They also discussed the ongoing negotiations to end the aggression against Gaza and "achieve the conditions of resistance."

09:51 Beirut Time

In the north of the territory, "more than 2,000 health workers are unable to find enough food to break the fast," said the Gazan Ministry of Health, which has also reported children dying of malnutrition and dehydration in recent days.

The head of the World Food Program (WFP), Cindy McCain, warned that "time is running out" to avoid famine in the north of the Gaza Strip, which is "in the grip of a humanitarian catastrophe" for lack of sufficient food aid.

UN boss Antonio Guterres said he was "appalled that the conflict is continuing in Gaza during the holy month" of Ramadan.

09:49 Beirut Time

Displaced Palestinians collect food donated by a charity before an iftar meal, the breaking of the fast, on the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in Rafah, on the southern Gaza Strip on March 11, 2024, amid ongoing battles between

Finally, the situation in Gaza, where the population gathered "without joy" on Monday evening for the first daily breaking of the fast at the start of Ramadan, marked this year by the threat of famine and air raids, in the sixth month of a devastating war between Israel and Hamas.

"This Ramadan doesn't taste like Ramadan. It tastes more like blood, misery, separation and oppression," Um Mohammed Abou Matar, a Palestinian woman, tells AFP as she bakes pita bread in a makeshift oven on a fire fueled by scraps of cardboard gleaned here and there.

"We don't feel the joy of Ramadan, we've lost it because the occupation has displaced us and destroyed our homes. Look at the people living in tents ... We're suffering a lot," adds Mohammad al-Masry, displaced to Rafah, a town close to the Egyptian border where more than half of the 2.4 million Gazans are crammed.

09:22 Beirut Time

The attack on the Pinocchio was claimed overnight by the Houthi rebels, who said they had targeted the ship "accurately."

And the official Yemeni news agency Saba reported US strikes in the Houthi-controlled Saada sector of northern Yemen.

The Houthis, who control large swathes of Yemen and are backed by Iran, say they are carrying out their attacks in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gazal strip. They said in a statement that their operations would "intensify" during the month of Ramadan, which began on Monday.

09:20 Beirut Time

In southern Lebanon this morning:

- The Israeli army said that "more than 100 rocket launches from Lebanon into Israel have been detected" and that some had been intercepted, according to Haaretz. According to a security source quoted by our correspondent, missiles have been fired from southern Lebanon at Israeli sites in the Upper Galilee. The same source added that several interceptor missiles exploded over Kfar Shouba (Hasbaya caza) and the Shebaa Farms.

- Israeli aircraft carried out strikes in the vicinity of Berghoz (Hasbaya) and Houla (Marjeyoun), according to a security source and local residents.

- Israeli artillery targeted the outskirts of Houla, Markaba (Marjeyoun) and Wadi al-Slouqi, according to local residents.

09:17 Beirut Time

According to a security source quoted by our correspondent in the Bekaa, the first Israeli airstrike targeted a timber warehouse between the villages of Shmustar and Taraya (Baalbek-Hermel), and the second targeted a two-story house in Ansar, east of Baalbeck.

The six wounded, who were taken to the Dar al-Amal hospital, were in the Ansar house belonging to a member of the Alam family. According to AFP, citing security sources, the building belongs to Hezbollah.

One person was killed in the second raid, and according to a statement by the governor of Baalbeck-Hermel Bashir Khodr to Reuters, it was a civilian.

09:14 Beirut Time

This morning's main news:

The Israeli army has claimed responsibility for the strikes carried out by its air force on two areas in Baalbeck, in the Bekaa, on Monday night.

"Earlier in the night, warplanes struck two Hezbollah compounds in the Bekaa Valley, inside Lebanon, belonging to the Hezbollah air force, which has been planning and carrying out various attacks in the direction of Israeli territory," said Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee, via his account on the X social network.

"The strikes were carried out in response to the activation of Hezbollah air assets on the Golan Heights in recent days," he added, attaching what appears to be a video of the strikes in question.

Hezbollah has yet to respond officially.

09:10 Beirut Time
09:09 Beirut Time

Good morning!

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