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Seven young medical volunteers killed, Israeli strikes in Bekaa, UNRWA employees protest: Everything you need to know to start your Wednesday

Here’s what happened yesterday and what to expect today, Wednesday, Mar. 27

Seven young medical volunteers killed, Israeli strikes in Bekaa, UNRWA employees protest: Everything you need to know to start your Wednesday

People inspect destruction at the site of an overnight Israeli airstrike in Hebbarieh near the Israeli border on March 27, 2024. (Credit: Rabih Daher/AFP)

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Catch up on yesterday’s LIVE coverage of Day 172 of the Gaza war here.

Seven young medical volunteers were killed in overnight Israeli airstrikes on the southern Lebanese town of Hebbarieh, in Hasbaya district, the village's mokhtar told L'Orient Today's correspondent in the region. The oldest victim was 25 years old. A security source told Reuters that the strike appeared to target an emergency and relief center in the village. This was the first time Hebbarieh was targeted by an airstrike since Oct. 8. Jamaa Islamiya, a group affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, told AFP that "seven rescue workers" were killed in the strikes.

An Israeli airstrike on a house in the Bekaa yesterday afternoon killed a Hezbollah fighter and a Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighter, security sources told our correspondent. Israel’s sixth strike on the Bekaa since Oct.8, west of Baalbeck, fell after an earlier attack between the al-Ain Valley and Wadi Faara in Hermel — which missed the vehicle it was targeting, according to a security source. The strike on Hermel was the furthest north into Lebanon that Israel has attacked. Hezbollah announced a 50-rocket barrage in retaliation to the earlier strike, adding to several cross-border launches claimed by the party the same day.

Local media reports described a dispute between the residents of Rmeich, in Bint Jbeil district, and Hezbollah members attempting to fire cross-border strikes from the area. Rmeish municipality chief Milad al-Alam told al-Hurra TV that the attack proceeded from a pine forest not far from a residential area after locals protested an initial attempt. Al-Markaziya cited a Rmeish resident claiming the suspected Hezbollah members fired warning shots after residents gathered to protest the use of their village as a launch site. Hezbollah claims it does not operate from residential areas. Israel has repeatedly dropped flyers over southern Lebanese villages disparaging Hezbollah as endangering the areas’ inhabitants.

Employees of the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees’ (UNRWA) in South Lebanon held a strike to protest the suspension of one of their colleagues pending an investigation into his alleged rule-breaking, which they claim was motivated by his political stance on Gaza. Employees held a sit-in outside UNRWA’s Saida headquarters, while the strike was ongoing in the city, in Ain al-Hilweh and Mieh Mieh, interrupting all but the agency’s health services. A source at the organization told L’Orient Today on Saturday the suspension was due to an ongoing investigation into the employee’s “alleged violation of UNRWA's work rules.” A group of UNRWA employees last Friday denounced disciplinary measures against two of their colleagues allegedly over their “political affiliations.” The suspensions come on the heels of the US officializing its suspension of funding to UNRWA in the coming year, after several donors interrupted contributions over claims that some of the agency’s employees were involved in Hamas’ Oct.7 attack on Israel. A UNRWA report last month projected that the ruptured cash flow could halt operations during the current month — which the agency said would mean putting 38,000 children out of school, cutting funding for the treatment of 600 cancer patients, and exacerbating access to health care to the approximately 200,000 Palestine refugees who visit the agency’s centers annually.

A day after the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for an immediate halt to hostilities, a delegation returned to Israel from Doha after another “dead end” in talks to mediate a cease-fire, according to a senior official cited by Reuters. Another official told AFP that some of the Israeli intelligence team stayed behind for further negotiations. At least 18 people drowned at sea attempting to retrieve airdropped aid supplies amid an increasingly palpable famine, prompting renewed calls for ramped-up deliveries to the enclave through traditional methods — made inaccessible by stringent Israeli regulations and the fighting raging across Gaza.

In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday:Fight erupts between Rmeish residents and Hezbollah over missile launcher

Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz.

Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.Catch up on yesterday’s LIVE coverage of Day 172 of the Gaza war here.Seven young medical volunteers were killed in overnight Israeli airstrikes on the southern Lebanese town of Hebbarieh, in Hasbaya district, the village's mokhtar told L'Orient Today's correspondent in the region. The oldest victim was 25 years old. A security...