Palestinians gather on a beach as they collect aid airdropped by an airplane on March 25, 2024. (Credit: Stringer/Reuters)


Israeli army strikes furthest north into Lebanon since Oct. 8; two killed, one wounded in Bekaa: Day 172 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

An Israeli strike targeted Hermel, in Bekaa for the first time since Oct. 8, without causing any casualties. Hezbollah announced that it had retaliated with 50 missiles launched at an Israeli "main headquarters in wartime."

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip during the remaining weeks of Ramadan.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh will travel to Tehran to meet Iranian officials, following the UN vote.

A series of Israeli strikes in Mais al-Jabal have killed two people, injuring three.

22:35 Beirut Time

That's it for today's live coverage of the Gaza war, the related war in southern Lebanon, and impacts on the region. Thanks for joining us — we'll be back tomorrow with more news updates and analysis. Goodnight!

22:30 Beirut Time

The United States imposed sanctions today against individuals and entities linked to Hezbollah, the Yemeni Houthis, and the al-Quds Force, a branch belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

In a press release published on its website, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) states that the sanctions concern "six entities, one individual and two tankers that are based or registered in Liberia, India, Vietnam, Lebanon, and Kuwait," charged by the Treasury as having engaged in "facilitating commodity shipments and financial transactions for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the Houthis, and Hezbollah."

👉 Read the full report here.

21:51 Beirut Time

The Israeli army has confirmed that it killed Hamas' third-in-command, Marwan Issa, in an airstrike on Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza two weeks ago, Haaretz reports. According to the army’s announcement, its air force attacked a tunnel where Issa was staying. This is the first time in five months of its offensive on Gaza that Israel has achieved one of its stated goals of killing senior Hamas leaders in the enclave.

Marwan Abdel Karim Issa, 59, whose death was first announced last week by the White House, was the discreet deputy head of the movement's armed wing and one of Israel's most wanted men after the wing’s leader, Yahya Sinwar, and commander-in-chief, Mohammad Deif.

The Wall Street Journal spoke to Tariq Kenney-Shawa, the US policy fellow at Al-Shabaka, a New York-based Palestinian think tank, who told the newspaper that Issa's killing “contributes to the continuous degradation of Hamas’s capabilities as a cohesive fighting force and their ability to coordinate operations against Israeli forces in Gaza in the short-medium term,” but that it "will change little for the guerrilla resistance campaign that will be directed at occupying Israeli forces over the coming months and years."

👉 Read the full report here.

21:20 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced the death of one of its fighters, Ali Nasser al-Din, from the town of Hermel, in Bekaa. We reported a strike on Hermel earlier today that targeted a non-residential area in al-Ain Valley and Wadi Faara. According to our correspondents in the Bekaa and in the South, Nasser al-Din was killed in Syria, in the city of Boukamal, where US strikes were reported earlier today. Hezbollah does not specify in its statements where and when its members have been killed.

According to L’Orient Today’s count, 249 Hezbollah members have been killed in Lebanon and Syria since the beginning of cross-border fighting between Israel and Hezbollah on Oct. 8.

21:12 Beirut Time

A fight erupted this morning between a citizen of the southern Lebanese border village of Rmeish (Bint Jbeil district) and a group of Hezbollah members after the latter tried to install a missile launcher in the area, according to local media outlets. The argument escalated as several other residents of Rmeish joined in, in support of the initial intervenor.

In Rmeish, members of Hezbollah were preparing to install a missile launcher in the village when a resident caught wind of the operation and intervened, objecting to the operation. More residents joined in and the situation escalated to the point where the Hezbollah members started firing bullets into the air while the residents rang the bell of a church in the village.

👉 Read the full report here.

20:54 Beirut Time

(Infographic: Guilhem Dorandeu/L'Orient Today)

Today's Israeli strike on Hermel was the furthest north Israel has struck into Lebanon since Oct. 8, when fighting between Hezbollah and Israel began.

20:28 Beirut Time

Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, announced that Ahmad Mahmoud, aged 32, has been killed in southern Lebanon amid the ongoing hostilities at the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Fifteen members of al-Quds Brigades have been killed since the beginning of the cross-border fighting between Hezbollah and Israel on Oct. 8, according to L’Orient Today’s correspondent in the South.

19:54 Beirut Time

A screenshot sent by a security source to our correspondent in the Bekaa, Sarah Abdallah, showing smoke rising from the site of an Israeli airstrike on Boudai, 9 km west of Baalbeck, on March 26, 2024. (Credit: L'Orient Today)

19:29 Beirut Time

The Israeli delegation sent to Doha for negotiations on a cease-fire and hostage exchange with Hamas has “packed up and left,” an Israeli official told Reuters, adding that the talks were “at a dead end.” The delegation had been in Doha for eight days.

Times of Israel also reported that the team had been recalled after Hamas supposedly rejected Israel’s latest offer, and Reuters quoted its source as accusing Hamas' leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, of sabotaging the talks "as part of a wider effort to inflame this war over Ramadan."

However, a source briefed on the state of the negotiations told AFP that a team of Mossad officials remained in Doha to continue talks and that only part of the team had returned to Israel “for consultations on developments” in the mediation process.

👉 Read the full report here.

18:46 Beirut Time

🔴 The recent Israeli airstrike on a house near Bodai, in the Bekaa, has killed two people and wounded a third, according to a security source cited by L'Orient Today's correspondent in the region.

18:42 Beirut Time

An update on the situation in southern Lebanon since 4 p.m., according to our correspondent in the region:

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Kfar Shuba, in Hasbaya district.

• Israeli aircraft bombed a house on the main road in Beit Yahoun, in Bint Jbeil district. Ambulances were dispatched to the scene, but no injuries were reported, according to a security source.

• Israeli artillery shelling targeted the outskirts of Qantara and Wadi Houjair, both in Marjayoun district, according to another security source.

18:35 Beirut Time

⚡ Another Israeli strike has targeted the Bekaa region — the second today and sixth since the start of the war. This time the army targeted a house near Boudai, 9 kilometers west of Baalbeck, according to our correspondent Sarah Abdallah, citing a security source. Ambulances have been dispatched to the site of the attack.

18:29 Beirut Time

The Houthis announced earlier that the group had mounted six attacks on ships with drones and missiles in the last 72 hours in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, AFP reports.

The Houthis claimed to have attacked the Maersk Saratoga, APL Detroit, and the Huang Pu after identifying them as either US or British, in addition to Pretty Lady ship which they claim was heading to Israel, the group's military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said in a statement. Reuters reported sometime later that Denmark's Maersk had denied the group's claim that the shipping company's Saratoga vessel was attacked.

Maersk Saratoga is part of Maersk Line, Limited (MLL), the Danish company's US subsidiary, which carries significant amounts of cargo for the Department of Defense, Department of State, USAID, and other US government agencies.

Sarea added that the group also attacked two US destroyers in the Red Sea as well as Israel's city of Eilat.

👉 Read the full report here.

17:58 Beirut Time

Speaking ahead of a meeting at the Pentagon with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant today, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters it was a moral and strategic imperative to protect Palestinian civilians, calling the situation in Gaza a "humanitarian catastrophe."

17:49 Beirut Time

Outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati called for international intervention to pressure Israel into halting its aggression against southern Lebanon, in a statement issued earlier today. The statement comes one day after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for an "immediate cease-fire" in Gaza for the remaining two weeks of Ramadan.

Mikati said the resolution was "a first step" in the process of ending the Israeli assault on Gaza, but that, as far as Lebanon is concerned, additional pressure will be needed to ensure cross-border fighting with Israel is also de-escalated.

He reiterated that "a political process still needs to be launched to put an end to the ongoing conflict and grant the Palestinians their rights."

👉 Read the full report here.

17:24 Beirut Time

An update on the Israeli airstrike on an area between al-Ain Valley and Wadi Faara in Hermel, in the Bekaa, reported earlier this afternoon: The strike was aiming for a vehicle but missed its target, a security source told our correspondent in the region.

17:10 Beirut Time

The latest announcements of Hezbollah attacks on Israel:

• In response to the Israeli attack that targeted the Bekaa two hours ago, Hezbollah says it fired more than 50 Katyusha missiles on the Israeli "Yarden barracks" in the Golan area at 4:20 p.m. Hezbollah described the barracks as the "main headquarters in wartime." Earlier today, the Israeli army bombed a non-residential area between al-Ain Valley and Wadi Faara in Hermel in the Bekaa.

• Hezbollah also said that it targeted a deployment of Israeli soldiers in Hanita, facing the village of Alma al-Shaab, with artillery shells at 2:50 p.m.

• Hezbollah announced that it hit "an Israeli infantry force" in a forested area, also in Hanita, with artillery shells at 3 p.m.

15:13 Beirut Time

Breaking: The Israeli army bombed a non-residential area between al-Ain Valley and Wadi Faara in Hermel in the Bekaa, a security source told L'Orient Today. Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA) also reported the strike. It was not immediately clear what the target was. This is the second time Israel has bombed the Bekaa outside of Baalbeck since the beginning of the war.

15:13 Beirut Time

Breaking: The Israeli army bombed a non-residential area between al-Ain Valley and Wadi Faara in Hermel in the Bekaa, a security source told L'Orient Today. Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA) also reported the strike. It was not immediately clear what the target was. This is the second time Israel has bombed the Bekaa outside of Baalbeck since the beginning of the war.

15:11 Beirut Time

Hamas's leader, Ismail Haniyeh, during a visit to Iran, said that Israel was experiencing "unprecedented political isolation" following the UN Security Council voted on a resolution that calls for an "immediate cease-fire" in Gaza, AFP reports.

"Although this resolution came late and there may be some gaps that need to be filled, the resolution itself indicates that the Israeli occupation is experiencing unprecedented political isolation," Haniyeh said, adding that Israel was "losing political cover and protection even in the Security Council" and that the "US is unable to impose its will on the international community." 

14:56 Beirut Time

The latest from the Lebanese-Israeli border:

-⁠ ⁠11:15 a.m.: Hezbollah says they attacked the Meron airbase and a military brigade around an Israeli position facing the southern Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil). Haaretz, citing the Israeli army, reports that the facility was not damaged.

-⁠ ⁠Around 2:30 p.m., the Israeli army shelled the outskirts of Alma al-Shaab (Sour) and the areas of Khiam Valley and Hamamis Hills (Marjayoun), according to residents

14:22 Beirut Time

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) has received Hamas' Doha-based political bureau chief, Ismail Haniyeh, at the foreign ministry headquarters in Tehran. It comes one day after the UN voted on a resolution that called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. (Credit: AFP)

14:22 Beirut Time

Hamas called for an end to humanitarian airdrops into the enclave after 18 people died trying to retrieve the desperately needed supplies when some fell into the sea.

Instead, the militant group urged for an increase in humanitarian aid through border crossings.

"We call for an immediate end to airdrop operations ... and we demand the immediate and rapid opening of land crossings to allow humanitarian aid to reach our Palestinian people," Hamas said in a statement.

14:01 Beirut Time

An update on ongoing discussions in Qatar for a cease-fire:

Haaretz is reporting that a "partial Israeli delegation" remains in Doha to discuss Hamas's proposal for a pause in fighting and release of hostages.

An Israeli source familiar with the talks told the Israeli newspaper that "the deal has not collapsed."

13:54 Beirut Time

Israeli aircraft have bombarded the outskirts of the southern Lebanese towns of Maroun al-Ras and Aita Shaab, both in the Bint Jbeil district, according to local residents, reports our correspondent.

13:29 Beirut Time

Caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati called on concerned countries to pressure Israel to halt its aggression against southern Lebanon after the UN adopted a resolution the previous day calling for a ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan.

In a statement, Mikati called the resolution "a first step in the process of halting Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip."

"As far as Lebanon is concerned, we once again call on the countries concerned to put pressure on the Israeli enemy to put an end to its continued aggression against South Lebanon," Mikati pleaded. Lastly, he felt that "a political process still needs to be launched to put an end to the current conflict and grant the Palestinians their rights."

13:28 Beirut Time

Press reports two days ago that Amal fighters had withdrawn from the battle in southern Lebanon contain "erroneous data," according to a source close to the movement chaired by the head of parliament, Nabih Berri, contacted by L'Orient Today.

The president of the movement, close to Hezbollah, has repeatedly stated that Lebanon does not want war. However, he has made it clear that in the event of an Israeli attack or invasion, "Amal would be engaged in the battle to defend the country," according to the same source. The border fighting between Hezbollah and the Israeli army "regularly escalate," destroying homes and claiming lives.

13:24 Beirut Time

Israel has blamed Hamas for the lack of progress in truce talks in Gaza, saying the Palestinian movement is "not interested in continuing negotiations," according to a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, relayed by AFP.

"Hamas's position clearly proves that it is not interested in continuing negotiations towards an agreement, and this position, unfortunately, testifies to the damage caused by the UN Security Council's decision," the statement added.

12:35 Beirut Time

The Gazan Ministry of Health has announced that seven people have drowned in the sea in the northern Gaza Strip while trying to retrieve aid parachuted by plane to the population of the enclave.

Six people died on Monday, while a seventh died on Tuesday morning as a result of his injuries, said the same source, quoted by AFP.

12:27 Beirut Time

Update on the situation in southern Lebanon after 10 a.m. :

- The Maroun al-Ras valley (Bint Jbeil) was targeted by an Israeli bombardment, residents told our correspondent in South Lebanon.

- Israeli artillery fire targeted the town of Yaroun (Bint Jbeil), according to local residents.

- Hezbollah announced in a press release that at 10.15 a.m. it had struck two buildings "used by enemy soldiers" in the town of Avivim, which faces the Lebanese village of Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil). Haaretz reported that two rockets hit a cellar in Avivim. According to Maron Galil, head of security at the Regional Council, a fire broke out in the town.

- In two other press releases, Hezbollah claimed that its fighters had fired rockets at a group of Israeli soldiers in the vicinity of the Biranit barracks, opposite the Lebanese town of Rmaish (Bint Jbeil), at 10:45 a.m. and 10:56 a.m. respectively.

11:26 Beirut Time

The Israeli army says it attacked over 60 targets, including tunnels and Hamas launch sites, across the Gaza Strip overnight, Haaretz reports.

Additionally, its forces conducted a raid in the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis where they say they "uncovered a large amount of weapons and combat equipment."

Reports by Haaretz also say that 18 people, including 9 children, have been killed in an Israeli strike on a residential home in Rafah.

11:14 Beirut Time

Update on the Israeli strike in southern Lebanon that killed two people yesterday:

Hezbollah has announced that one of its members was among the two people killed in an Israeli strike on a house in the border village of Mais al-Jabal (Marjeyoun district).

He has been named as Hussein Ali Dabbouk, from the southern Lebanese village of Shabriha. As usual, Hezbollah did not announce the date and time of the death, but added that he died "on the path to Jersusalem" which the group uses to describe members who died in Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon. 248 members of Hezbollah have died in Lebanon and Syria since Oct. 8.

The second person who died has not yet been identified.

10:33 Beirut Time

A summary of the situation in southern Lebanon last night:

- ⁠Two people, including one Hezbollah member, were killed and at least three were injured in an Israeli strike on a house in the Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun), a medical source told L'Orient Today.

-⁠ ⁠The Israeli army bombed a house and other areas in Tayr Harfa (Sour). Amal Movement's Risala scout said in a statement that the strike resulted in significant damages to their base in the village and three of their first responders were lightly injured while their ambulance and firefighter vehicles were damaged.

- ⁠The Israeli army shelled the southern Lebanese villages of Kfar Kila and the outskirts of Taybeh (Marjayoun) and opened fire on the village of Kfar Kila around 10 p.m.

- ⁠The Israeli army shelled the eastern outskirts of Naqoura and Jibbayn (Sour) around midnight.

- ⁠Hezbollah announced that they attacked at 12:45 a.m. buildings used by the Israeli military in two Israeli positions facing the southern villages of Marwahin and Naqoura in Sour district. The army also reported that it identified two rockets launched from Lebanon towards the northern Israeli town of Shlomi, and it responded by attacking the launch sites.

- ⁠The Israeli army bombed around 2 a.m. on the villages of Jibbayn and bombed a house in Yarine (Sour) with no casualties being reported.

09:25 Beirut Time

A handout picture taken and released by the British Ministry of Defense (MOD) on March 25, 2024 shows humanitarian aid being airdropped over Gaza from a RAF A400M aircraft. (Credit: Crown/AFP)

Britain's Royal Air Force airdropped more than 10 metric tons of food supplies into Gaza for the first time on Monday, Britain's defense ministry said in a statement.

"The aid, which consists of water, rice, cooking oil, flour, tinned goods and baby formula, will support the people of Gaza," the ministry said. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has called on Israel to “provide port access and open more land crossings in order to increase incoming aid deliveries to Gaza.”

09:24 Beirut Time

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh will travel to Tehran on Tuesday to meet Iranian officials after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza – Reuters is reporting, citing Iran's official Press TV. Yesterday Hamas reportedly informed mediators that it will stick to its proposal made in March for a longer-term cease-fire, which includes the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, and the exchange of 700-1000 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for Israeli hostages held in Gaza. At the time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Hamas's proposal saying it was based on "unrealistic demands," and vowed to press ahead with its ground offensive until it “eliminates” Hamas.

09:20 Beirut Time

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has once again warned Israel of the risks of its planned offensive in the southern Gazan city of Rafah. During a meeting yesterday with Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, Blinken “reiterated his opposition to a ground offensive,” according to a statement from the State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller – reported by AFP. Additionally, Blinken reportedly “stressed the existence of alternatives to a large-scale ground invasion” which would both better ensure Israel's security and protect Palestinian civilians,” he continued.

09:19 Beirut Time

⁠At least two people have died and three injured after a series of Israeli strikes on the border village of Mais al-Jabal (Marjeyoun), a medical source told our correspondent in the south. It is still unknown if the victims who were found under the rubble were civilians. At 9:00 p.m. last night, an Israeli drone hit a house in the village, followed by a strike – according to a military source. The three people injured have been taken to a nearby hospital. Meanwhile, Haaretz is reporting that the Israeli army says it attacked Hezbollah military buildings in southern Lebanon overnight, responding with fire to two rockets being launched from Lebanon towards the northern Israeli town of Shlomi. 

09:18 Beirut Time

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that calls for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip during the last two weeks of Ramadan. In a major moment, the resolution passed with 14 votes in favor while the United States – which had previously vetoed three calls for a pause in fighting – chose to abstain. While being welcomed by many countries, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, criticized its traditional ally, the US, for allowing the resolution to pass, and called off a visit by an Israeli delegation to Washington to discuss alternatives to a planned Israeli offensive into Rafah – according to the New York Times.

09:16 Beirut Time
09:16 Beirut Time

Good morning!

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