This handout picture courtesy of the Israeli Prime Minister's Office taken on April 14, 2024 shows Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) during a War Cabinet meeting at the Kirya in Tel Aviv. Iran's Revolutionary Guards confirmed early April 14, 2024 that a drone and missile attack was underway against Israel in retaliation for a deadly April 1 drone strike on its Damascus consulate. (Credit: Israeli Prime Minister Office/AFP)


Israeli war cabinet 'in favor of a response' to Iranian strikes, divided over timing and scale of retaliation: Live updates

What you need to know

Iran attacked Israel last night, for the first time in its history, in retaliation for Israel's April 1 attack on its consulate in Damascus.

Hezbollah congratulated the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran "after the remarkable and unprecedented attack" on Israel, the party said in a statement.

Lebanon, Iraq, Israel and Jordan reopened their airspaces on Sunday morning after temporarily closing them.

Several Israeli bombings took place during the day in southern Lebanon.

21:57 Beirut Time

This concludes our coverage for today. Be sure to check back in tomorrow for more live updates.


21:34 Beirut Time

The majority of Israel's war cabinet is in favor of a response to Iran's attack. However, it is divided over the timing and scale of the response, according to Israeli officials quoted by Reuters.

21:32 Beirut Time

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said that the French army had "taken its responsibilities" during the unprecedented Iranian strikes against Israel by carrying out interception missions.

21:17 Beirut Time

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said that Iran's plan to target strategic infrastructure and the Nevatim air base in southern Israel failed, reports Haaretz.

According to him, the Nevatim base was not damaged and is fully operational. "Iran and its proxies have endangered the entire Middle East and brought it to a standstill," he added. "It has blocked the airspace of countries in the region while attacking with 350 different launches, amounting to 60 tons of explosives."

20:53 Beirut Time

The US had contacts with Iran, through Swiss intermediaries, prior to the Iranian attack on Israel, a senior US official tells Reuters.

Iran gave no 72-hour warning of its attack; its intention was to be "highly destructive," he continued. Israel made it clear to the United States that it did not want any significant escalation with Iran, according to the same source. Teheran is said to have sent a message to the US after its attack, the senior US official says, while declining to give further details.

Finally, the G7 leaders discussed possible sanctions against Iran and the designation of the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.

20:33 Beirut Time

Jordan's foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, said that his country summoned the Iranian ambassador to protest against "Iranian comments that constitute interference in the kingdom's internal affairs," Reuters reports.

Speaking on public broadcaster Mamlaka, Safadi said he was referring to comments published in official Iranian media in recent days, which warned that Jordan would be the next target if it cooperated with Israel in a showdown with Iran.

20:21 Beirut Time

The G7 pledged to "provide more humanitarian aid" to the Palestinians in Gaza, reports AFP.

20:16 Beirut Time

Latest developments in southern Lebanon:

Israeli air force bombarded the outskirts of Houla (Marjayoun), according to residents reporting to L'Orient Today's correspondent.

The recent attack on Dhaira (Sour) targeted a three-story residential building and totally destroyed it, according to a security source. Emergency services are on site.

20:15 Beirut Time

Caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced that the government meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Monday at 9:30 a.m., will be a "consultative meeting" after all, in a statement issued that evening. The meeting will focus "on current events at local and regional level."

Since December 2022, ministers affiliated with the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) have boycotted all Council of Ministers meetings held during presidential vacancies.

19:58 Beirut Time

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told his US counterpart Antony Blinken in a telephone call that Ankara was concerned about the potential spread and escalation of the crisis in the Middle East after Iran's attacks on Israel, a Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters.

Fidan told Blinken that the root cause of the crisis in the region was the war in Gaza and that an immediate cease-fire and unimpeded access to humanitarian aid were needed in the enclave, the source said. Fidan also urged countries with influence over Israel to send the "right messages" to avoid a further escalation of regional tensions, the source added.

19:47 Beirut Time

The G7 said it was "ready to take action" against "further destabilizing initiatives" and affirmed its "full support" for Israel after the Iran strikes, reports AFP.

19:43 Beirut Time

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said he condemned in "the strongest possible terms" the Iranian strikes against Israel during a call with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Reuters reports.

"I made it clear that Iran must stop these reckless attacks, defuse the situation and release the MSC Aries," he wrote in a message posted on X. Iran seized the Israel-linked container ship MSC Aries on Saturday near the Strait of Hormuz.

19:40 Beirut Time

The Israeli army announced that it is mobilizing two brigades of reservists to fight in Gaza, reports Haaretz.

At the beginning of April, the Israeli army announced the withdrawal of all its ground troops from the southern Gaza Strip, but specified that a "significant force" would continue to operate there, including the 162nd Division and the Nahal Brigade.

19:38 Beirut Time

Israel extends restrictions on schools and universities until 11 p.m. local time on Monday.

Israeli directives ban educational activities throughout the country and limit gatherings to 1,000 people.

In some areas, such as near the Gaza and Lebanese borders, stricter restrictions on gatherings already exist.

19:17 Beirut Time

Israeli warplanes struck the town of Dhaira (Sour), according to a local security source quoted by L'Orient Today's correspondent.

19:15 Beirut Time

Hezbollah "congratulates the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran after the remarkable and unprecedented attack" against Israel, the party said in a statement. It also hailed "a courageous and wise decision, a firm response to the Zionist aggression on the Iranian consulate in Damascus."

Iran "exercised its natural and legal right despite threats, intimidation and pressure" in carrying out these strikes, Hezbollah insisted. "The operation achieved its precisely defined military objectives, despite the participation of the United States and its allies in the response" to the attack, the text added. "The long-term political and strategic objectives of this great step will emerge in time, and a new phase of the Palestinian cause will thus be founded."

19:14 Beirut Time

The G7 leaders, meeting by videoconference, "unanimously condemned Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel," said European Council President Charles Michel after the discussions, stressing that "all parties must show restraint."

"We will pursue all our efforts towards de-escalation. Ending the crisis in Gaza as soon as possible, in particular through an immediate ceasefire, will make the difference," said the European official on X, adding that the situation in the Middle East would be discussed at the EU summit scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

18:58 Beirut Time

Israeli aircraft targeted a house located between the towns of Maroun al-Ras and Bint Jbeil (Bint Jbeil) in southern Lebanon, a security source told L'Orient Today's correspondent. Ambulances are on their way to the scene of the attack.

Residents of Aita al-Shaab, in the same district, report that five shells fell on the village.

18:49 Beirut Time

US airline company United Airlines canceled flights scheduled for Sunday from Newark Airport, New Jersey to Tel Aviv, as a result of developments between Iran and Israel last night, according to an email sent by the company to Reuters.

18:38 Beirut Time

Israeli forces shot and injured a young man in the town of Hableh, south of Qalqilya, in the occupied West Bank, according to local sources cited by the Wafa news agency.

The man, who was shot in the hand, was transferred to Darwish Nazal Governmental Hospital.

Separately, in the town of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, Alaa Omar Abu Ghalioun, 42, was beaten and injured by a group of Israeli settlers who were operating under the protection of the Israeli military, Wafa reported.

The incident happened on the victim’s land in the Batin al-Maasi area, south of al-Khader, according to Wafa’s interview with Palestinian activist Ahmed Salah.

18:36 Beirut Time

Russia's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, accused Israel and Western countries of being responsible for regional escalation, comparing the situation in the Middle East to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

In a statement posted on his Telegram channel, Polyanskiy wrote that "the Franco-Saxon-Netanyahu gang is destabilizing the region and accusing Iran of all sins." According to him, "The cynicism and selective blindness of our Western colleagues know no bounds. They no longer remember that it was they who refused to prevent escalation by not supporting our proposal to condemn the Israeli attack on Damascus at the UN Security Council."

Polyanskiy likened Western countries' approach to the Middle East conflict to the war in Ukraine, claiming that "for them, the story only begins with Iran's retaliation." He also wrote that "the Israelis are inflating the situation in their usual style: We are the victims, everyone else is guilty."

18:18 Beirut Time

Kuwait's national airline, Kuwait Airways, has announced the resumption of commercial flights to Beirut and Amman, reports Reuters.

18:15 Beirut Time

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called on all international leaders to show responsibility and restraint in the wake of the Iranian attack on Israel.

Madrid has "always condemned all forms of violence against the security and well-being of innocent civilians, and will continue to do so," he said in a message posted on X. Spain has strongly criticized Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7.

Mr. Sánchez called for lessons to be learned from history, and for diplomatic means to be found to resolve conflicts and avoid further escalation. Sanchez had recently announced his intention to recognize a Palestinian state.

18:08 Beirut Time

President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States "would not participate" in an Israeli counter-offensive against Iran, according to reports published by CNN and the Wall Street Journal and picked up by Reuters.

Speaking with Netanyahu late on Saturday, Biden reportedly suggested that a new retaliation was not necessary, and senior US officials said the US would not participate in an offensive response against Iran, CNN and the WSJ reported.

17:57 Beirut Time

"Israel experienced one of the most dramatic nights ever - hundreds of missiles of various types were fired at the State of Israel, including more than 100 ballistic missiles fired from Iran, each carrying hundreds of kilograms of explosives," said Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Haaretz reports.

Gallant added that "with the United States and other countries, we have forged a strong and powerful alliance, which coordinates and synchronizes the security apparatuses of the State of Israel, the United States and our partners."

17:26 Beirut Time

Syria considered that its ally Iran had exercised its "right to self-defense" by carrying out unprecedented strikes on Israel overnight in retaliation for the raid on its consulate in Damascus, reports AFP.

"The Iranian response ... is a legitimate right to self-defense," said Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mokdad, quoted by the official Sana agency, during a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

17:19 Beirut Time

The United States wants neither an "escalation" nor an "extended war with Iran," insisted a White House spokesman, quoted by AFP.

"The president [Joe Biden] has been clear: We don't want escalation. We don't want an extended war with Iran. I think the hours and days ahead will tell us a lot," said John Kirby on NBC television.

17:16 Beirut Time

The table, translated by us, of flight times modified by Middle East Airlines and expected in Beirut between this Sunday and Monday morning. All times are given according to local time in the departure city. All other flights that have not been canceled or modified have been maintained.

The two stars indicate departures taking place after midnight on Sunday night.

16:31 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced the death of another of its members, Ali Abou Mahdi, born in 1969 in Khiam (Marjayoun). This is the 275th Hezbollah member killed in exchanges of fire with Israel since Oct. 8, the day after the start of the war in Gaza.

16:29 Beirut Time

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the US "will continue to work" with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu" when asked whether the administration trusts the Israeli prime minister's judgment regarding a potential response to Iran's attack. These remarks were relayed by Haaretz.

He added that the US "will continue to help Israel defend itself" and had "made it clear to all parties, including Iran ... how seriously any potential threat to [US] personnel will be taken," but warned that Washington did not want "a broader war with Iran."

John Kirby concluded his answer at a press briefing in Washington by saying that what happens "in the next few hours" will set the tone for what happens next.

Also according to Haaretz, citing a message posted on X, an Israeli military spokesman said that Israel "will respond to Iran with deeds, not words."

15:56 Beirut Time

Josep Borrell, EU’s foreign policy chief, called an extraordinary video meeting of the bloc’s top diplomats on Tuesday to “contribute to de-escalation and security in the region.”

15:55 Beirut Time

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for a "resolute and united" global response to the "terror" of Iran and Russia, condemning Tehran's overnight strikes against Israel.

"Ukraine condemns Iran's attack on Israel using Shahed drones and missiles," he wrote on X (formerly Twitter), calling for everything to be done to avoid "escalation" in the Middle East.

"Iran's actions threaten the entire region and the world, just as Russia's actions threaten a wider conflict, and the obvious collaboration between the two regimes to spread terror must be met with a resolute and united response from the world," he said. "It is essential that the US Congress take the necessary decisions to strengthen America's allies at this critical time," pleaded Volodymyr Zelensky.

15:50 Beirut Time

The Iraqi president called for a "reduction in tensions" in the Middle East while urging not to "extend the conflict," reports AFP.

Referring to "the latest developments in the region and their repercussions," President Abdel Latif Rashid also stressed in a statement "the need to halt the aggression against the Gaza Strip and to find a solution to the Palestinian question, given that it is fundamental to the stability of the region."

15:49 Beirut Time

The French Foreign Ministry is recommending that its nationals "temporarily leave Iran," due to a "risk of military escalation," according to AFP.

"Due to the new level crossed," the French embassy in Tehran "recommends to French residents in Iran who have the possibility ... to temporarily leave the country. They are asked to exercise the utmost caution when traveling" and "to avoid all gatherings," according to the ministry's website.

15:26 Beirut Time

The Israeli army announced early this afternoon that its air force had bombed a Hezbollah weapons production site in the village of Nabi Sheet (Baalbeck) some 100 km from the border, Haaretz reported, citing a spokesman. L'Orient Today's correspondent in the Bekaa had reported on the strike, which caused no casualties.

The Israeli army spokesman added that the attack had been carried out in response to firing from Lebanon towards northern Israel on Sunday night.

14:59 Beirut Time

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Tehran that Iran "communicated to the US that our actions against Israel will be restricted to self-defense purposes."

Cited by Al Jazeera and al-Arabiyah, Abdollahian told the ambassadors: "We are not interested in escalating the conflict in the region. Additionally, we have notified the US that we will retaliate against its bases if Iran comes under attack. Ensuring the security of neighboring nations remains a paramount concern for Iran."

14:41 Beirut Time

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed that British military aircraft shot down "several" Iranian drones during the Iranian strikes against Israel overnight.

"I can confirm that our pilots shot down several Iranian attack drones," said Rishi Sunak in a video message broadcast from Downing Street, shortly before attending a meeting of G7 leaders.

14:01 Beirut Time

The Lebanese Council of Ministers will meet this Monday at 9:30 a.m. to address "current events on the local and regional levels."

In a statement, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati called on all ministers to attend the meeting, citing the gravity of the current situation marked by the the Iranian missile and drone attack on Israel last night.

13:59 Beirut Time

People gather around a destroyed building targeted by Israeli air strikes on the village of Nabi Sheet in the Baalbeck district in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley on April 14, 2024. (Credit: AFP)

13:56 Beirut Time

Hezbollah MP Hassan Ezzedine speaking from Sour district on Sunday. (Credit: Hezbollah press office)

During a speech given in Deir Qanoun al-Nahr, Sour district, Hezbollah MP Hassan Ezzedine praised "the Resistance," and said the region would not see peace so long as the state of Israel exists.

"The responses of the Resistance have become more qualitative, advanced, and far-reaching," Ezzedine said. "This region, in which we live, cannot stabilize and see peace and development with the presence of the [Israeli] Zionist entity."

He blamed further occupation and violence against Palestinians in the West Bank on Israeli PM Netnayahu's Likud Party specifically, saying: "What is happening in the West Bank in terms of settlers' mobilization, attacks on Palestinian villages, and burning of agricultural crops, is because the West Bank is fundamentally a Likud Party project. Therefore, they have started today to adopt the same approach, method, and style they use in Gaza in order to displace the people of the West Bank, to begin implementing their aggressive projects."

13:42 Beirut Time

The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassadors of Britain, France, and Germany to question what it referred to as their "irresponsible stance" regarding Tehran's retaliatory strikes on Israel, the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency reported, cited by Reuters.

The three European countries have condemned Iran's drone and missile attack against Israel, which went through last night into the early hours of this morning and were in retaliation for Israel's bombing of its consulate in Syria on April 1.

The director for Western Europe at Iran's foreign ministry accused the three countries of "double standards" as they opposed earlier this month a Russian-drafted UN Security Council statement that would have condemned Israel's attack on Iran's embassy compound in Syria.

"Iran's military action against the Zionist regime's [Israel] bases is well within the framework of the right to legitimate defense stipulated in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and it is in response to a series of crimes, including the recent attack on the embassy compound in Syria," the official added.

The G7, which includes France, Germany and the United Kingdom, is expected to hold a video call later today to discuss Iran's recent attack.

13:25 Beirut Time

Lebanese, Jordanian, Iraqi, and Israeli airspace has reopened after the four countries all announced their closure last night during the Iranian drone and missile attack launched against Israel in retaliation for its Damascus embassy attack. The reopening was announced by each respective country in official statements released today.

Jordan was the first country to announce it was closing its airspace, citing "operational reasons," and sparking concern that an event was imminent.

Lebanon's airspace was closed from April 15 at 1:00 a.m. to April 15 at 7:00 a.m., with commercial flights resuming thereafter. However, the Beirut International Airport's online flight tracker shows around a dozen flights scheduled for departure have been cancelled or delayed.

👉 Read more here.

13:09 Beirut Time

France says its bases in the Middle East acted in "self-defense" during the Iranian strikes against Israel, using anti-aircraft protection, said a French military source, after Israel claimed that France had helped it "thwart" the Iranian attack.

"We contributed to the surveillance and protection of the footprints [bases, editor's note] on which we are deployed with defense means," a French military source told AFP.

12:11 Beirut Time

A senior White House official told Axios that in a phone call yesterday between Biden and Netanyahu, the former said the US would not support an Israeli counterattack against Iran, citing fears that a subsequent Israeli attack would lead to a regional war.

According to the official, when Biden informed Netanyahu that the US will not participate in any offensive operations against Iran and will not support such operations, Netanyahu said he understood.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke yesterday with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant and asked that Israel notify the US ahead of any response against Iran, the Axios report says, citing a senior Israeli official.

11:51 Beirut Time

According to a hospital spokesperson, cited by the New York Times, a total of 12 people were brought in to the Soroka Medical Center in southern Israel overnight. A 7-year-old girl was seriously injured by missile fragments.

Initial reports misidentified her as a 10-year-old boy. Earlier reports said the child was injured by shrapnel from an interceptor missile in the Negev desert. The girl was taken to the operating room and is under intensive care. Eight other people were treated for minor injuries from shrapnel or running for shelter.

11:47 Beirut Time

Hamas has defended Iran's attack on Israel, saying it regards the military operation as a "natural right and a deserved response to the crime of targeting the Iranian consulate in Damascus and the assassination of several leaders of the Revolutionary Guards," the Palestinian movement said in a statement, cited by Reuters.

11:45 Beirut Time

More details on the Israeli air raid in the Bekaa this morning:

• According to our correspondent, the house targeted belongs to a man named Abbas Mohammad Jaafar. Ambulances were dispatched to the scene.

• A Hezbollah source told AFP that the raid targeted a two-story building that belonged to Hezbollah.

11:25 Beirut Time

Sweden "strongly condemns" last night's Iranian attack on Israel, the prime minister's office says, in a statement posted on X.

"This brings very serious consequences for an already deteriorating regional security situation,” says Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. "Sweden is following the situation very closely."

11:08 Beirut Time

Jordan intercepted "aerial devices" that penetrated Jordanian airspace during the attack launched by Iran last night, the Jordanian government said this morning in a statement cited by AFP.

The Jordanian armed forces "will confront ... any threat or violation endangering the security and safety of the country, its citizens, its airspace, and its territory, wherever it comes from and with all available means," the government warned.

The armed forces had "intercepted and neutralized devices that had penetrated our airspace last night," and that debris had fallen "in several places" without causing injury.

11:06 Beirut Time

Top Iranian commanders warned Israel that the country would face a bigger attack if it retaliates against overnight drone and missile strikes, adding that Washington has been told not to back any military action from its ally, Reuters reports.

"Our response will be much larger than tonight's military action if Israel retaliates against Iran," armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri told state TV Tasnim, adding that Tehran warned Washington that any backing of Israeli retaliation would result in US bases being targeted.

Bagheri told Tasnim that Iran conveyed a message to the US through the Swiss embassy, saying that if the US participated “in further aggressive Zionist moves through its bases or military assets across the region, and [these actions] are proven to us, its bases and assets and personnel in the region will have no security."

“We will see it as aggressor as well and react accordingly.”

10:59 Beirut Time

Israeli fighter jets conducted an air raid on the Sarine valley in Nabi Sheet, Baalbeck district, in the Bekaa, our correspondent in the region Sarah Abdallah reports, citing a security source. The attack, which targeted an uninhabited house, caused no casualties.

Hezbollah opened a "support front" the day after its ally in Gaza, Hamas, launched its al-Aqsa Flood operation on southern Israel. The Israeli army and Hezbollah have been engaged in cross-border fighting nearly every day since. Most of the Israeli attacks target the area south of the Litani River, but the western Bekaa region has been struck on several occasions.

10:37 Beirut Time

The Iranian army says its drone and missile attack on Israel, in retaliation for a deadly strike on Iran's Damascus consulate, has "achieved all its objectives," AFP reports.

"Operation True Promise ... was completed successfully from last night to this morning and achieved all its objectives," Mohammad Bagheri, the Iranian armed forces' chief of staff, told state TV.

10:23 Beirut Time

"There is currently no shortage of diesel, fuel oil or gas in Lebanon, but I can understand why some citizens took fright and rushed to the gas stations to fill up last night in certain regions of the country," said Jean Hatem, President of the Gas Bottle Distributors' Union and a member of the Association of Fuel Importers in Lebanon (APIC).

Speaking to L'Orient Today, he assured that that local distributors' reserves are full and that nothing is threatening the country's supply schedule for the time being. Still, he did not rule out the possibility that the situation could destabilize in the event of a possible escalation between Iran and Israel.

09:58 Beirut Time

Image: A graphical representation of air traffic shows airspace over Iran and the neighboring Middle East at 0000 GMT, on April 14, 2024. (Credit: Flightradar24.Com/Handout via Reuters)

09:42 Beirut Time

The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said this morning that Tehran "will respond to any Israeli attack targeting its interests, officials or citizens," according to the group's affiliated Iranian news agency Tasnim.

He pointed out that in such a scenario, the Iranian response "will be much broader" than last night's attack.

09:41 Beirut Time

⚡ Leaders of the G7, a group of the world's most industrialized nations, will hold a video call on Sunday afternoon to discuss last night's Iranian attack on Israel, sources in the Italian prime minister's office tell Reuters. Earlier on Sunday, US President Joe Biden said he would convene his G7 counterparts today to coordinate a "united diplomatic response" to Teheran's "brazen" attack.

09:32 Beirut Time

Image: A man crosses an empty street in Jerusalem on April 14, 2024. Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel has been "foiled," the Israeli army announced on April 14, with almost all of the more than 200 missiles and drones intercepted with the help of the United States and allies. (Credit: Ronaldo Schmeidt/AFP)

09:30 Beirut Time

An Israeli army spokesman quoted by Reuters says "French military resources" were deployed to counter the Iranian attack that targeted Israeli territory last night.

09:29 Beirut Time

According to a statement from the Grand Serail, Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati has informed his ministers that he will convene the cabinet for an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss current developments. The exact time of the meeting has not yet been set.

Mikati has called on all ministers to attend this meeting. Several of the ministers in his caretaker government have been boycotting cabinet meetings to protest the ongoing presidential vacuum in the country, which has been ongoing since Michel Aoun left office in October 2022.

09:25 Beirut Time

The Iraqi airport authority has also announced the reopening of its airspace, according to Reuters.

09:25 Beirut Time

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said this morning, "I strongly condemn Iran's blatant and unjustifiable attack on Israel" in a message posted on X.

"I call on Iran and its proxies to immediately cease these attacks. All actors must now refrain from further escalation and work to restore stability to the region," she added.

09:22 Beirut Time

Middle East Airlines (MEA) announced in a press release the postponement of all its flights scheduled for this morning from Beirut international airport.

According to the press release, five flights were scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning: those bound for Paris (ME1209 and ME211); Frankfurt (ME217), Rome (ME231) and Düsseldorf (ME247).

As for other airlines serving Beirut, Turkish Airlines has already postponed its 10:05 a.m. flight (TK831)

08:32 Beirut Time

⚡ Jordan has reopened its airspace after closing it late yesterday after Iran launched drone and missile attacks against Israel, according to state TV, citing Jordanian aviation authorities, Reuters reports.

AFP is reporting that Israel also reopened its airspace at 7:30 a.m. (0430 GMT) after it was closed following Iran's attack on Israel, citing an Israeli airports authority statement.

"As of 07:30 in the morning, Israel's airspace is reopening and Ben Gurion Airport is returning to operations," the statement said, adding that domestic airports would reopen throughout the day. The airspace had been closed since 12:30 a.m. (2130 GMT).

08:26 Beirut Time

Mossad said this morning that Hamas has rejected the latest truce plan, which  was put on the table a week ago by mediators in Cairo, AFP reports.

The rejection of the proposal submitted by the three countries mediating the negotiation — United States, Egypt and Qatar — shows that the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, does not want a humanitarian agreement, nor the return of hostages ," the Israeli intelligence services indicated in a press release issued by the prime minister's office.

08:23 Beirut Time

US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with the US "national security team" this morning , according to a message posted by Kamala Harris on X.

“Our support for Israel’s security is ironclad, and we stand with the people of Israel in defense against these attacks,” the vice-president wrote.

08:22 Beirut Time

The Israeli army has updated the number of missiles and drones it says were fired overnight towards its territory.

“More than 300” missiles and drones were launched toward the state, it said, coming from “Iran, Iraq and Yemen.” It adds that “99 percent” were intercepted.

⚠️ The Iranian attack “pushes the region towards escalation," the Israeli army added, specifying that its armed forces are “fully operational” and that discussions are underway to determine “the continuation of operations,” according to statements cited by Reuters.

08:19 Beirut Time

“Israel has repelled the first major wave of Iranian drone and missile strikes, but the confrontation is not yet over,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said this morning, according to Reuters.

08:18 Beirut Time

In a message on the X network, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote: "We intercepted, we pushed back, together we will win."

08:17 Beirut Time

Hezbollah this morning announced it had bombed the occupied Golan for the second time in the space of a few hours, as Iran launched its drone attack towards Israel, AFP reports.

In a statement, the party said it had launched "dozens of Katyusha-type rockets" at three Israeli military positions located in the Syrian Golan occupied by Israel.

This second attack comes "in response to Israeli night raids that targeted several villages and localities …, causing several martyrs and injuries," the press release adds.

Among the three targets attacked shortly before dawn on Sunday were an Israeli barracks that the party had already announced it had targeted a few hours earlier, as well as the military bases of Yarden and Nafah.

08:15 Beirut Time

The Pentagon in the United States said at dawn that it had intercepted “dozens of missiles and drones” coming from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called for "de-escalation." Stressing that the US is not seeking conflict with Iran, he nevertheless clarified that his government "would not hesitate to act to protect American forces [in the region] and to support Israel in defending itself."

08:13 Beirut Time

China called on the parties concerned to “remain calm” and “ exercise restraint” to avoid a further escalation of tensions, according to its Foreign Ministry reported by Reuters. Easing the conflict is a “high priority,” it added, calling on “the international community” to play a role “in maintaining regional peace and stability.”

08:12 Beirut Time

Joe Biden claims that American forces helped shoot down "almost all" of the drones and missiles fired by Iran at Israel, AFP reports. He also said he reaffirmed his “unwavering” support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US president adds in a press release that he will convene his counterparts from the G7, a group of the most industrialized countries, today, in order to coordinate a “united diplomatic response” to Iran’s “brazen” attack.

08:10 Beirut Time

The Israeli strike on Khiam killed one and injured five others, a medical source tells our correspondent in south Lebanon. 

08:09 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with US President Joe Biden overnight about Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel, the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said.

Netanyahu called the US president after a meeting of the Israeli war cabinet devoted to the massive drone and missile attack carried out by Iran from its territory.

04:40 Beirut Time

Around 3:30 a.m., Israeli aircraft bombed a location in the center of Khiam (Marjayoun district) with two missiles, our correspondent in south Lebanon, Muntasser Abdallah, reports.

A short time later, Israeli aircraft again bombed Khiam, as well as Kfar Kila and Adaisseh.

According to our correspondent, six people were injured by the strikes in Khiam.

04:03 Beirut Time

A meeting of the Security Council will take place tomorrow at 4 p.m. New York time (11 p.m. Beirut time), an informed source confirms to L'Orient-Le Jour.

The confirmation follows Israel's submission of a request for an emergency meeting of the council to condemn Iran after the Islamic Republic launched hundreds of suicide drones and missiles at Israel overnight.

03:57 Beirut Time

Israel has asked for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to condemn Iran.

"The Iranian attack is a serious threat to global peace and security and I expect the Council to use every means to take concrete action against Iran," Israel's ambassador to the UN, Eilad Erdan, said in a post on X announcing his request.

03:45 Beirut Time

Israel's military now says it is not advising any residents of the country to prepare to take shelter, revising an earlier alert in what appeared to signal the end of the threat seen from incoming Iranian missiles and drones, Reuters reports.

03:39 Beirut Time

The Israeli army has said that residents of the northern Golan, Nevatim, Dimona, Beersheba and Eilat no longer need to stay near shelters, Haaretz reports.

03:36 Beirut Time

Image: Demonstrators wave Iran's flag and a Palestinian flag as they gather at Palestine Square in Tehran on April 14, 2024, after Iran launched a drone and missile attack on Israel. (Credit: Atta Kenare/AFP)

03:31 Beirut Time

The Israeli army's first assessment of Iran's attack:

* Iran fired dozens of surface-to-surface missiles towards Israel, the Israeli army reported, as cited by Reuters. The majority of these missiles were intercepted by Israel outside its borders.

* A spokesperson for the Israeli army, quoted by Haaretz, said more than 200 missiles and drones had been launched from Iran towards Israel, adding that the vast majority of them had been intercepted outside Israeli airspace.

* The Israeli air force intercepted more than 10 cruise missiles, also outside Israeli borders, according to the Israeli army, which added that Israeli forces are continuing to intercept missiles.

* A base in southern Israel suffered minor damage, the Israeli military said, adding that so far, one girl has been injured by the Iranian strikes. Earlier, Haaretz reported emergency responders as saying a 10-year-old boy had been seriously wounded in the attack.

03:19 Beirut Time

Saudi Arabia calls on all parties to exercise the "highest level" of restraint and spare the region and its people from the dangers of war, Reuters reports.

03:15 Beirut Time

The Israeli military adds that engagement has not ended and its forces are still intercepting incoming threats, Reuters reports. 

03:13 Beirut Time

An Israeli army spokesperson reports that over 200 missiles and drones were launched from Iran toward Israel, the vast majority of which were intercepted outside Israeli airspace. An Israeli base in southern Israel sustained minor damage, the spokesperson added.

03:10 Beirut Time

Israeli officials said 99 percent of the missiles launched as part of the "Iranian response" were intercepted, the Israeli media outlet ynetnews reports.

“The fact that Iran is attacking Israel for the first time from its territory demands a decisive response, which will not take long to come,” the officials added, according to the report. 

03:07 Beirut Time

UN chief Antonio Guterres condemns the "serious escalation" represented by Iran's attack on Israel and urges "maximum restraint," AFP reports.

03:05 Beirut Time

Iran state media say Israel attack dealt "heavy blows" to Negev air base, AFP reports.

02:53 Beirut Time

US President Joe Biden has met with his national security team for an update on Iran’s attacks against Israel.

"Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad," Biden wrote on X following the meeting.

02:51 Beirut Time

Iran's Foreign Ministry says "Tehran will not hesitate to take further defensive measures to safeguard its legitimate interests against any military aggression," Reuters reports.

02:49 Beirut Time

“We strongly condemn the ongoing attack, which could plunge an entire region into chaos. Iran and its proxies must stop this immediately,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on the social network X, adding that Berlin offers Israel its “full solidarity.”

02:47 Beirut Time

US forces positioned in the Middle East are shooting down Iranian drones targeting Israel, a US Defense Department official said, according to AFP.

“Consistent with our unwavering commitment to Israel's security, US forces in the region continue to shoot down Iranian-launched drones targeting Israel,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Our forces remain positioned to provide additional defensive support and to protect US forces operating in the region.”

02:28 Beirut Time

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have warned the United States against "any support for Israel or any involvement in harming Iran's interests," Reuters reports.

“Any threat from the United States and the Zionist regime will be met with a reciprocal response from Iran,” the Revolutionary Guards said.

02:26 Beirut Time

The US Embassy in Jerusalem has told all US government employees to shelter in place until further notice, according to a security alert posted after Iran began launching drones and missiles at Israel, Reuters reports.

"In response to security incidents and without advance notice, the US Embassy may further restrict or prohibit US government employees and their family members from traveling to certain areas of Israel (including the Old City of Jerusalem) and the West Bank," the statement said. 

02:24 Beirut Time

A 10-year-old boy from Arad has been seriously wounded in an attack on southern Israel, Haaretz reports, citing Magen David Adom.

According to the report, following sirens in southern Israel, Magen David Adom said they were treating a 10-year-old boy from Arad who was seriously wounded.

02:22 Beirut Time

Suicide drones and cruise missiles: How do they differ?

Iran has launched what security officials say is "hundreds" of suicide drones toward Israel. Iran has also reportedly launched cruise missiles from Iraqi territory. What is the difference? Both are unmanned, and in this case, both will explode upon reaching their target and are unretreivable. According to the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, cruise missiles are loaded with a war head and use a jet engine. They can fly at a very low altitude, sometimes skimming just meters above the ground. This makes them hard to detect.

Videos on social media appear to show Shahed 136 suicide drones flying overhead, en route to Israel. These drones, according to a Guardian report, can carry 20-40 kg of explosives, are cheap to make, noisy, and are most effective against "static structures."

It should also be noted that the Iron Dome, Israel's most utilized defense system, is for short-range missiles, not long-range and can be overwhelmed by a high number of objects entering its airspace simultaneously. Israel has a medium to long-range defense system, David's Sling.

02:17 Beirut Time

US jets have downed a number of drones in Sweida and Deraa provinces in southern Syria near the Jordanian border, Reuters reports, citing security sources.

02:10 Beirut Time

American forces have shot down drones launched at Israel by Iran in retaliation for a deadly strike on its consulate in Damascus, US media reports, according to AFP.

The news agency adds that the reports — which cite unnamed US officials — do not specify where or how many of the drones were shot down.

02:09 Beirut Time

A unnamed senior Israeli official has reportedly told Israeli Channel 12 there will be a "meaningful response" to the unprecedented Iranian attack, Reuters reports.

02:07 Beirut Time

Britain says RAF jets deployed to intercept any airborne attacks in Middle East

British Royal Air Force jets in the Middle East "will intercept any airborne attacks within range of our existing missions, as required," after Iran targeted Israel with drones and missiles, the country's Defense Ministry says.

"In response to increased Iranian threats and the growing risk of escalation in the Middle East, the UK Government has been working with partners across the region to encourage de-escalation and prevent further attacks," the statement adds.

02:04 Beirut Time

Image: Iranians celebrate on a street after the IRGC attack on Israel, in Tehran, Iran, on April 14, 2024. (Credit: Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters)

02:03 Beirut Time

Israel's Magen David ambulance service says it has received no reports of any casualties from incoming Iranian drones, Reuters reports.

02:02 Beirut Time

Jordanian jets have shot down dozens of Iranian drones crossing northern and central Jordan towards Israel, Reuters reports, citing two regional security sources.

02:01 Beirut Time

IDF confirms ballistic missiles launched at Israel as explosions heard above Jlem, major cities in Israel's south and north.

01:53 Beirut Time

Israel's military has sounded sirens in multiple locations in the south of the country as well as in parts of the occupied West Bank, an alert app showd, warning of incoming aerial threats, Reuters reports.

Haaretz reports sirens in the north and south of Israel, as well as in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

01:51 Beirut Time

⚡ Several detonatinos heard in the sky over Jerusalem.

01:49 Beirut Time

The Iranian news agency Fars News is citing a source as saying that Tehran "is monitoring Jordan, which could become "the next target in case of any [pro-Israel] move.

01:46 Beirut Time

Long lines formed tonight in front of gas stations across Lebanon, videos circulating on social media show. This is particularly the case in Tripoli, according to our local correspondent, Michel Hallak.

Image: Cars line up in front of a gas station in Tripoli. (Photo provided by Michel Hallak)

01:44 Beirut Time

Lebanon's caretaker Transport Minister Ali Hamieh tells the TV station MTV that his ministry will "reassess the situation" regarding the closure of Lebanese airspace "at around 5 a.m. in coordination with the government" in order "to determine whether there is a need to extend the closure … beyond 7 a.m. or not."

01:39 Beirut Time

Yemeni Houthi rebels launched drones towards Israel late Saturday evening in “coordination” with Iran, which is carrying out an unprecedented attack against Israeli territory, the British maritime security company Ambrey said according to AFP.

“Israeli ports are considered potential targets,” Ambrey added, warning of possible “collateral damage” to ships.

01:35 Beirut Time

The US military has shot down an Iranian drone heading towards Israel, Reuters cites two US officials as saying.

Meanwhile, Haaretz is reporting that Israeli army radio is saying that over 100 drones have been intercepted outside Israeli territory with assistance from the US and UK.

01:32 Beirut Time

Iran's permanent mission to the UN has issued a statement on X following its country's launch of a missile and drone attack against Israel.

"Conducted on the strength of Article 51 of the UN Charter pertaining to legitimate defense, Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s  aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus. The matter can be deemed concluded," it wrote, adding, "should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe. It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, from which the U.S. MUST STAY AWAY!"

01:28 Beirut Time

As Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel progresses, we take a moment to revisit the capabilities of Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense system. 

➡️ Read our explainer here on what the “Iron Dome” can do.

01:25 Beirut Time

Israel instructs residents of Eilat, Dimona, Nevatim, Golan Heights to stay close to bomb shelters in preparation for incoming Iranian missiles, drones, the Israeli army's Arabic-speaking spokesperson has said on X.

"Based on an assessment of the situation, residents of the northern Golan Heights, the Nefatim area in the Negev, and the cities of Dimona and Eilat are asked to remain until further notice near a safe place that can be reached at the required time," Avichay Adraee wrote.

01:09 Beirut Time

US and British warplanes have shot down Iranian drones launched against Israel over a border area between Iraq and Syria, Israeli television station Channel 12 is reporting, without citing sources.

01:08 Beirut Time

Iran has launched more than 100 drones towards Israel and other “waves of drones” could follow, an Israeli military official told AFP.

“Tonight we identified more than 100 drones launched toward Israel from Iran,” the official said, adding: “We may see additional waves of drones over time.”

01:06 Beirut Time

The Jordanian government's spokesman has denied that the kingdom announced a state of emergency and says that the information disseminated by the media was unfounded and that "there was no reason for citizens to worry."

The government's communications minister, Mouhannad Mubaideen, told the national news agency Petra that the government would take legal action against any media that spread rumors or unverified accusations.

01:04 Beirut Time

The New York Times is reporting that Israeli intelligence has detected the launch of dozens of drones and cruise missiles from Iran and Iraq, citing two Israeli officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss military intelligence. According to the report, the officials said the expected areas of impact are the Golan Heights and an Israeli air force base in the Negev Desert.

01:02 Beirut Time

Hezbollah says that at 00:35 a.m. it launched "dozens of Katyusha rockets" against "the air and missile defense headquarters in the Kila'a barracks in the disputed Golan Heights … in response to Israeli attacks on villages" in southern Lebanon.

00:57 Beirut Time

France condemns Iran's attack on Israel, which "takes its destabilizing actions to a new level," Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné says on X.

"By deciding to take such unprecedented action, Iran is crossing a new threshold in its destabilizing actions and running the risk of a military escalation," he wrote, adding that "France reaffirms its attachment to Israel's security and assures it of its solidarity."

00:49 Beirut Time

Italy is monitoring the situation "with attention and concern" following the launch of Iranian drones against Israel, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani has said on X. "I have spoken with the President of the Council (Giorgia Meloni) and the Defence Minister (Guido Crosetto), and the government is ready to deal with any type of scenario," he added.

00:48 Beirut Time

⚡ A source has told Iran's state-run news agency that Tehran has launched its first wave of ballistic missiles against Israel, Reuters reports.

00:42 Beirut Time

The British maritime security company Ambrey claims that drones have also been launched by the Yemeni Houthis in the direction of Israel.

00:41 Beirut Time

Jordan's air defenses are ready to intercept and shoot down any Iranian drone or aircraft that violates its airspace, two regional security sources tell Reuters. They added that the army is also on high alert and that radar systems are monitoring any drone activity from Iraq and Syria.

Residents of several towns in the north of the country, close to Syria, and in central and southern regions, have heard heavy aerial activity. A security source said the Jordanian air force is stepping up its reconnaissance flights.

00:39 Beirut Time

Egypt calls for the utmost restraint to spare the region and its inhabitants from further instability and tension.

00:36 Beirut Time

Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani has warned that Tehran will firmly respond to any country that "opens its airspace or territory for attacks on Iran by Israel," Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reports, according to Reuters.

00:31 Beirut Time

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has condemned Iran's "reckless" attack against Israel, which he says shows that it is "intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard."

"These strikes risk inflaming tensions and destabilizing the region. Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard," Sunak said in a statement.

"The UK will continue to stand up for Israel’s security and that of all our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq."

00:28 Beirut Time

Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel is a "serious and dangerous escalation," Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari says.

"Iran has launched a direct attack against the state of Israel from Iranian soil. We are keeping a close eye on the killer drones sent by Iran en route to Israel. This is a serious and dangerous escalation," Hagari said in a statement.

00:19 Beirut Time

🚨 Lebanese airspace will be closed tonight from 1 a.m, to 7 a.m., the Transport Ministry has announced in a statement.

This "provisional and preventive" measure is being taken "in view of developments in the region," the ministry said.

00:16 Beirut Time

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has convened the Israeli war cabinet at military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Reuter reports, citing his office.

00:14 Beirut Time

According to Israeli Channel 12, Iran has launched around a hundred drones and cruise missiles toward the state. Some of these have been shot down over Syria and Jordan, the station reports.

00:13 Beirut Time

Iran's Revolutionary Guards say the drone operation against Israel, called True Promise, "is part of the punishment" it is imposing on Israel for its "crimes," according to a statement on Iranian state television, quoted by Reuters.

00:04 Beirut Time

Iraq has also closed its airspace and suspended all air traffic following the launch of Iran's drone attack on Israel, AFP reports.

"Iraq's airspace has been closed, and air traffic has been halted," Transport Minister Razzak al-Saadawi told state news agency INA. The Civil Aviation Authority says the closure which began at 11:30 p.m. (2030 GMT) will last until 5:30 a.m. (0230 GMT).

00:00 Beirut Time

Reuters is reporting army sources in Syria as saying the country has put its Russian-made ground-to-air defense systems around its capital Damascus and major bases on high alert.

23:58 Beirut Time

Iran's Revolutionary Guards say they have launched dozens of drones and missiles against specific targets in Israel, Iranian state media quotes a statement by the elite force as saying, Reuters reports.

23:54 Beirut Time

The United States will “stand with the people of Israel” in the face of Iran's attack, the White House says.

23:53 Beirut Time

On social networks, several analysts have estimated that this salvo of drones could be accompanied by other types of missiles in a synchronized attack.

23:42 Beirut Time

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have confirmed a drone attack is under way against Israel, AFP reports, citing Iranian state media.

23:10 Beirut Time

⚡  Israel's top-rated Channel 12 TV news is reporting that Iran has launched dozens of pilotless aircraft at targets in Israel and that their flight time is expected to take hours, according to Reuters.

An expert interviewed by the channel, retired general Amos Yadlin, said the drones were equipped with 20 kg of explosives each and that Israel's air defenses are ready to shoot them down.

23:01 Beirut Time

Schools will be closed across Israel tomorrow over security concerns, military spokesman Daniel Hagari said tonight, after Iran threatened to retaliate for a deadly airstrike on its Damascus consulate, AFP reports. ➡️ More details here.

22:41 Beirut Time

Jordan will temporarily close its airspace for several hours beginning at 11 p.m. (2000 GMT) to all incoming, departing and transit aircraft, state-owned Al Mamlaka news says according to Reuters.

Aviation authorities cited by Al Mamlaka said the situation would be "continuously updated and reviewed according to developments."

19:33 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for a new series of strikes on Israeli positions:

* At 5 p.m., against Israeli soldiers deployed in the "Adather wood," opposite the Lebanese village of Rmeish, using missiles.

* At 5.50 p.m., against soldiers deployed near the Biranit barracks, also opposite Rmeish.

* Also at 5.50 p.m., against soldiers stationed in the locality of Even Menachem, opposite the Lebanese village of Marwahin (Sour).

* At 6.20 p.m., against "spy equipment at the Rahab site," opposite Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil).

* And at 6.40 p.m., against a building used by Israeli soldiers in Shtoula, also opposite Aita al-Shaab.

18:52 Beirut Time

Update from south Lebanon

In the last hour:

* The Israeli army has launched airstrikes on the villages of Tayr Harfa and Alma al-Shaab in Sour district, a security source told L'Orient-Le Jour. The strike on Alma al-Shaab targeted a house, but there were no immediate reports of casualties, the security source said.

* The security source also told L'Orient-Le Jour that a drone struck Jabal Blat in Hasbaya district.

* Israel also struck the village of Aita al-Shaab in Bint Jbeil district

* The Israeli army said that a member of Kibbutz Hanita's security squad was severely wounded by a drone that exploded in Israel's north. Hezbollah had claimed an attack with a "suicide drone" in that area and said in a statement that the strike had caused "casualties" among Israeli soldiers.

17:05 Beirut Time

Here's what's been happening along the Lebanon-Israel border since 1 p.m.:

* Israeli machine-gun fire targeted farmers on the outskirts of Abbassieh, Majidieh and al-Mari in the Hasbaya district, without causing any injuries, according to local residents.

* Israeli artillery fire targeted the outskirts of Yaroun and Maroun al-Ras (Bint Jbeil).

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for three attacks:

* At 2.05 p.m., Hezbollah said it launched "missiles" against the "Roueissat al-Alam" site, on the disputed Kfar Shuba heights.

* At 3 p,m., the party launched "suicide drones" against a building in the locality of Hanita (opposite the Lebanese locality of Alma al-Shaab, Sour) used, according to the group, by the Israeli army as a military base. According to Hezbollah, there were casualties in this attack. The party regularly claims to have killed or wounded Israeli soldiers; however, these reported casualties are rarely confirmed by the Israeli army.

* At 3.15 p.m., Hezbollah fired "missiles and artillery shells" against "a deployment of Israeli soldiers in the Hanita forest."

The Israeli army indicated, via a message published on X by its Arabic-speaking spokesperson Avichay Adraee, that three rockets from Lebanon fell in an "open area" in the Hanita region, while two "booby-trapped drones exploded" in the same area.

16:05 Beirut Time

Italian-Swiss Shipping group MSC says there are 25 crew members on board the container ship seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in the Gulf, AFP reports.

"We regret to confirm that MSC Aries … has been boarded by Iranian authorities via helicopter as she passed the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 0243 UTC this morning," the group said in a statement. "She has 25 crew onboard, and we are working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure their wellbeing, and safe return of the vessel."

15:43 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced as "a heinous crime" the discovery in the occupied West Bank of the body of an Israeli teenager. The teenager, who went missing yesterday, was "murdered," according to the Israeli army.

Benjamin Achimeir, a 14-year-old shepherd, disappeared while grazing his sheep near a Palestinian village in the Ramallah region. In a statement, the army said he had been "murdered in a terrorist attack."

15:41 Beirut Time

The French administrative court has rejected a petition filed by Amnesty International, which sought an emergency suspension of French arms deliveries to Israel because of the conflict in Gaza.

The interim relief judge at the Paris administrative court said that he had no jurisdiction and therefore dismissed the petitioners' case, according to a decision sent to AFP. He ruled that the case could not be "detached from the conduct of France's international relations," thereby accepting the argument put forward during a brief hearing this morning by the government's representative, Antoine Pavageau.

15:40 Beirut Time

An adviser to Iran's supreme leader has welcomed the "total panic" that has gripped Israel as it awaits Tehran's response to the strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

"For a week now, the Zionists have been in a state of total panic and on the alert. They stopped the military attack on Rafah," in the south of the Gaza Strip, and "as they don't know what Iran wants to do, they and their supporters are terrified," said Yahya Rahim Safavi, adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, quoted by the INSA news agency. "This psychological, media and political war is more terrifying for them than the war itself, because they expect an attack every night, and many of them have fled and taken refuge in shelters," he added.

14:55 Beirut Time

The G7 countries have set up a "permanent round table" on the attacks by Houthi rebels against merchant ships in the Red Sea, Italy's transport minister has announced. Italy holds the G7 presidency in 2024.

"We have given the green light" to the "establishment of a permanent round table," Matteo Salvini said at a press conference following the meeting of G7 transport ministers from Thursday to Saturday in Milan.

In addition to Italy, the G7 includes the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.

14:54 Beirut Time

International shipping company Zodiac Maritime has said in a statement that MSC is the manager and commercial operator of the vessel seized today by Iranian authorities, Reuters reports. 

"MSC is responsible for all vessel activities including cargo operations and maintenance. Title to the vessel is held by ​Gortal Shipping Inc as financier and she has been leased to MSC on a long-term basis. Gortal Shipping Inc is affiliated with Zodiac Maritime," the company, which is partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer, said. 

14:37 Beirut Time

The maritime special forces of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have seized a container ship "linked" to Israel in the Gulf, the official IRNA news agency reports.

"A container ship named MCS Aries was seized by the special maritime forces during a helicopter operation near the Strait of Hormuz,: IRNA reported, adding that the vessel, "flying the Portuguese flag and managed by the Zodiac company, which belongs to the Zionist capitalist Eyal Ofer," was being "directed towards the territorial waters" of Iran.

14:35 Beirut Time

The Dutch airline KLM has joined those taking precautions in response to fears of a retaliatory Iranian attack on Israel. The airline has announced it will no longer fly over Israel and Iran, Dutch press agency ANP reported on Saturday, citing a KLM spokesperson, according to Reuters.

KLM, the Dutch arm of Air France-KLM, described the move as a precaution and referred to the rising tensions between Iran and Israel, but added that it would continue flying to Tel Aviv in Israel.

14:28 Beirut Time

Iran "will suffer the consequences of its choice to further aggravate the situation," warned the Israeli army as the country remains on the alert for threats of retaliation from Tehran, an ally of Palestinian Hamas.

"We have stepped up our preparations to protect Israel from further Iranian aggression. We are also ready to react," added Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari in a statement issued after Iran announced that it had seized a ship "linked" to Israel in the Gulf.

14:23 Beirut Time

In addition, the Netherlands announced today that its embassy in Iran and its consulate in Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, have been closed to the public "as a precaution."

Yesterday, Germany's Lufthansa and its Austrian subsidiary, Austrian Airlines, announced that they were suspending flights to and from Tehran until Thursday, April 18. The Australian airline Qantas announced that it was going to divert its long-haul flights between London and Perth in order to avoid Iranian airspace.

At the same time, several countries, including France, Germany and the United States, have reiterated their appeals to their citizens not to travel to Iran.

14:22 Beirut Time

"We are sending additional resources to the region to support regional deterrence efforts and increase the protection of American forces," said a US Defense Department official in Washington last night, against a backdrop of regional fears of a conflagration in the event of an Iranian retaliation against Israel, following the strike on a consular building in Damascus on April 1.

14:05 Beirut Time

Gaza casualty toll update: Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip has killed at least 33,686 Palestinians and wounded 76,309 since Oct. 7, Reuters reports, citing the Palestinian enclave's Health Ministry.

There have been 52 Palestinians killed and 95 wounded in the past 24 hours, the ministry statement added.

13:19 Beirut Time

The Israeli air force has bombed several localities in southern Lebanon so far today, according to security sources.

* A series of strikes targeted the vicinity of Taibeh, Houla and Markaba (Marjayoun).

* A house on the outskirts of Beit Lif and Ramieh (Bint Jbeil) was bombed.

* The locality of Adsheet (Marjayoun) was also targeted by an air raid.

Image: The strike on the outskirts of Beit Lif and Ramieh, in the district of Bint Jbeil. (Credit: OLJ)

13:18 Beirut Time

The Israeli air force has bombed several localities in southern Lebanon so far today, according to security sources.

* A series of strikes targeted the vicinity of Taibeh, Houla and Markaba (Marjayoun).

* A house on the outskirts of Beit Lif and Ramieh (Bint Jbeil) was bombed.

* The locality of Adsheet (Marjayoun) was also targeted by an air raid.

12:46 Beirut Time

The search for a missing Israeli teenager resumed today in the occupied West Bank, where settler attacks on Palestinian villages have left at least one dead and dozens injured, AFP reports, citing sources on both sides.

The Israeli army said it was still looking for Benjamin Achimeir, 14, who went missing early yesterday from Malachi Hashalom, an outpost near the city of Ramallah. ➡️ More details here.

12:42 Beirut Time

The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) posted this morning on X that it had received a report of an incident 50 nautical miles northeast of the United Arab Emirates' Fujairah and that authorities were investigating.

Iran-aligned Houthis have attacked shipping in the Red Sea region for months in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza war.

The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard's navy said on Tuesday that Israel's presence in the UAE was viewed as a threat by Tehran and it could close the Strait of Hormuz — the entrance to the Gulf — if deemed necessary. Fujairah is on the eastern side of the Strait of Hormuz.

12:32 Beirut Time

The southern Lebanon front remained relatively calm last night.

At 7 p.m. yesterday evening, Hezbollah announced that it had used suicide drones to strike an Israeli "military base" in Ramot Naftali, a town in northern Israel opposite the Lebanese village of Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil).

And this morning, the Israeli army bombed Rihan, in the district of Jezzine, some 15 kilometers from the border, according to a security source. Three missiles targeted the village. Amale, a local resident, told L'Orient-Le Jour that the residents woke up "to the sound of a huge explosion that shook the houses and knocked out the windows." She added that "a large column of smoke rose from the site of the strike. Amale also said that the strikes caused great fear because of their proximity to people's homes.

12:28 Beirut Time

At the stroke of midnight last night, the Israeli army indicated that alerts had sounded around the Gaza Strip, while Islamic Jihad, the second largest Palestinian Islamist group after Hamas, simultaneously claimed responsibility for firing towards the Israeli town of Sderot in "response" to the strikes in Gaza, according to AFP.

12:27 Beirut Time

Amid fears of an Iranian attack on Israel, US President Joe Biden said he expected Iran to take action "soon." Biden's assessment came in response to a question about threats against Israel, which the Islamic Republic has accused of being behind the strike on its consulate in Damascus on April 1.

Following Biden's announcement on Wednesday that Iran was "threatening to launch a major attack against Israel," a US general in charge of the Middle East, Michael Erik Kurilla, traveled to Israel.

12:26 Beirut Time

Israeli forces have continued to conduct deadly raids in the Gaza Strip in recent hours, AFP reports.

Yesterday, the Israeli army carried out dozens of air raids on several areas in the center of the enclave, including Nousseirat. At least 25 members of the al-Tabatibi family were killed in a pre-dawn strike on a six-story building in the al-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza City in the north, according to a source close to the family.

12:24 Beirut Time


Today marks the 190th day of the war in the Gaza Strip, and the 189th day since the opening of a front in southern Lebanon between Hezbollah and the Israeli army.

Throughout the day, you can find our live coverage of events in the region here.