Palestinians flee Rafah to safer areas in the central Gaza Strip on May 19, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant Hamas group. (Credit: AFP)


Hezbollah announces 2 more of its fighters killed: Gaza war, day 226

What you need to know

US President Joe Biden today declared his support for a Middle East peace agreement based on "a two-state solution."

Several fires caused by Israeli strikes have been brought under control in southern Lebanon.

Israeli strike reportedly kills at least 31 people in a house in the Nuseirat camp in Gaza.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan visited Israel today.

19:35 Beirut Time

Hezbollah has announced the death of another of its members: Ali Hady Salameh, born in 2006 and originally from Majadel (Sour district), southern Lebanon. Salameh death brings to 304 the number of Hezbollah fighters killed since Oct. 8 in Lebanon and Syria.

19:05 Beirut Time

Here's the latest from the Lebanon-Israel border: 

* Hezbollah has announced another attack, saying that at 5 p.m. it targeted spying facilities at the Malkiyeh Israeli position.

* Hezbollah also said that it attacked, at 5:30 p.m., three Israeli soldiers at an Israeli position in Metula, opposite the Lebanese town of Kfar Kila, claiming to have inflicted casualties.

18:25 Beirut Time

Here's what has happened over the past hour on the Lebanon-Israel border:

* Hezbollah said it attacked at 4:40 p.m. the spying facilities of the Malkiya Israeli position, opposite the Lebanese town of Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil district).

* Hezbollah announced that one of its fighters, Hassan Neama, was killed in an Israeli attack. As is usual, the party did not specify the date and place of death, but sources told L'Orient Today that he was killed in an airstrike earlier today in Maroun al-Ras (Sour district). This brings to 303 the number of Hezbollah soldiers killed since Oct. 8 according to our count.

* Hezbollah also noted that party leader Hassan Nasrallah will deliver a speech on May 25 to celebrate the anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000.

18:14 Beirut Time

US President Joe Biden has called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, saying he is working on a "lasting, durable peace" that would include the creation of a Palestinian state, AFP reports.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony at the former university of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr, Biden said he was pushing for a regional peace deal "to get a two-state solution, the only solution."

17:13 Beirut Time

The mayor of Wazzani tells our correspondent that several fields and orchards caught fire, and that two farmers' warehouses containing various agricultural materials were also engulfed in flames. He said that Civil Defense teams have been able to bring many of the blazes under control.

17:11 Beirut Time

According to our correspondent in the region, teams deployed in Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun) have managed to bring a fire that broke out earlier today following an Israeli bombardment under control. Attempts to control a similar fire in Wazzani (Marjayoun) are continuing.

The regional head of the Lebanese Civil Defense said the fires had been caused by white phosphorus munitions.

➡️ Click here to read or re-read Salah Hijazi's article on this type of weapon and the position of international law on the subject.

15:33 Beirut Time

Gaza casualty toll update: At least 35,456 Palestinians have been killed and 79,476 have been wounded in Israel's military offensive on Gaza since Oct. 7, the Gaza Health Ministry says in a statement, Reuters reports.

15:31 Beirut Time

The head of Lebanon's regional Civil Defense center, Hussein Fakih, told our correspondent that several fires broke out today as a result of Israeli artillery fire that used phosphorus munitions.

He added that fires had broken out in Bint Jbeil and Yaroun (Bint Jbeil district), as well as in Mais al-Jabal and Wazzani (Marjayoun district).

He noted that the Civil Defense teams are working at full capacity and are supported by local teams, such as those of the al-Rissala scout association, which is affiliated to the Amal Movement.

Image: Screenshot from a video an area on fire in Mais al-Jabal (Courtesy of Muntasser Abdallah)

15:08 Beirut Time

According to our correspondent in the region, the residents of Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun) fear that the fire is approaching houses and properties in the al-Jadida neighborhood and the local government hospital.

14:55 Beirut Time

The stranglehold on aid reaching Gaza threatens an "apocalyptic" outcome, the UN's humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths tells AFP as he warns of famine in the besieged territory.

"If fuel runs out, aid doesn't get to the people where they need it, that famine, which we have talked about for so long, and which is looming, will not be looming anymore. It will be present," Griffiths said. "And I think our worry, as citizens of the international community, is that the consequence is going to be really, really hard. Hard, difficult, and apocalyptic." ➡️ More details here

14:46 Beirut Time

In the last hour:

* Hezbollah announced that at 1:25 p.m. they attacked the Israeli position of Jal al-Alam with artillery shells.

* A huge fire broke out near the Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun) hospital, caused by Israeli shelling, a source at the Civil Defense told L'Orient-Le Jour.

* The Israeli army launched an airstrike on the village of Maroun al-Ras (Bint Jbeil) and ambulances rushed to the area of the attack, residents of the village told L'Orient-Le Jour.

13:54 Beirut Time

Hezbollah is multiplying its attacks "significantly" to "preserve the retaliation equation," so that Israel "doesn't think it is capable and ready to attack Lebanon and achieve its fanciful goals," the head of party's parliamentary bloc, Mohammad Raad, said today.

"We will eventually be victorious when we have defeated the enemy's objectives," he added, speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the death of one of the party's fighters in Sour.

Image: MP Mohammed Raad. (Photo provided by the Hezbollah press office)

13:40 Beirut Time

Jordan is calling for an international inquiry into the "numerous war crimes" committed in Gaza, according to its foreign minister, as quoted by Reuters.

The minister's remarks came during a press conference with the head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), with the minister adding that those responsible for documented crimes should be brought to justice.

12:38 Beirut Time

⚡ Gaza's civil defense agency has updated an earlier death toll, now saying that an Israeli airstrike targeting a house at a refugee camp in the center of the territory killed at least 31 people, AFP reports.

"The civil defense crew were able to recover 31 martyrs and 20 wounded from a house belonging to the Hassan family, which was targeted by the Israeli occupation forces in the Nuseirat camp," Gaza civil defence agency spokesman Mahmud Bassal told journalists.

He said rescue workers were continuing to search for missing people under the rubble.

Earlier today, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital had said it had received the bodies of 20 people killed in the strike which witnesses said occurred around 3 a.m. local time.

The Israeli army when contacted by AFP reportedly asked for specific coordinates of the strike.

Palestinian official news agency Wafa reported that the wounded included several children.

12:34 Beirut Time

The Israeli army announced this morning the deaths of two new soldiers killed in the south of the Gaza Strip, according to several Israeli media outlets. With these two deaths, 282 Israeli soldiers have now lost their lives as part of the ground offensive in Gaza, according to the Times of Israel.

12:32 Beirut Time

An update on the situation in south Lebanon:

* Hezbollah issued its first statement of the day, announcing that its troops had targeted an Israeli army vehicle at 10.15 a.m. at the Malikiya site, opposite the Lebanese locality of Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil) with a "guided missile." Hezbollah claimed the attack "wounded and killed" the vehicle's occupants.

* In a second statement, the party announced that at 10.40 a.m. it had successfully targeted the Israeli site of Ramtha, not far from Kfar Shuba (Hasbaya) with rockets.

* Over the course of the past two hours, alarm sirens have sounded several times in northern Israel, according to Haaretz.

12:09 Beirut Time

More than 1,000 Israeli academics and administrators have signed a petition calling on the Israeli government to immediately end the war in Gaza and return the hostages held by Hamas, Haaretz reports.

The petition also highlights the deterioration of the rule of law in Israel and the occupied West Bank, as well as the damage done to Israel's economy and international reputation.

11:52 Beirut Time

The delivery of humanitarian aid has come to a virtual standstill since the Israeli army seized and closed the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border on May 7, a crucial entry point for such aid, including fuel for hospitals.

Deliveries are also severely hampered at the Israeli crossings of Kerem Shalom and Erez.

Although the Americans have set up a temporary jetty near the Gaza beach for aid deliveries, the UN and humanitarian organizations insist that only the opening of road crossings can guarantee the necessary large-scale deliveries.

11:52 Beirut Time

Jake Sullivan's visit to Israel coincides with deep dissension at the top of the Israeli government.

Benny Gantz, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet, has threatened to resign if a strategic "action plan" for the post-war period in Gaza is not adopted within three weeks. Before him, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant called on the prime minister to "immediately prepare" a "governmental alternative to Hamas" in Gaza.

Netanyahu, who has so far refused "any discussion" on the future before Hamas is wiped out, accused Gantz of wanting to "overthrow the government."

Yesterday evening, many Israelis once again demonstrated in Tel Aviv against Netanyahu, demanding the return of the hostages.

11:45 Beirut Time

The Israeli army says it is stepping up its operations in Rafah, in the south Gaza, with the stated aim of wiping out the last Hamas battalions there. Most of the fighting is taking place in the eastern sector.

Some "800,000" Palestinians have been "forced to flee" Rafah, according to the UN, to cram into Khan Younis, further north, since the Israeli evacuation order came on May 6, one day before Israeli tanks entered the east of the city, where the international community fears for the civilian population.

"I appeal to all those who have an ounce of humanity. Massacres are taking place here. Children are being torn apart. What is the fault of these children and women? I don't understand, you think you're fighting a superpower? I swear it's civilians who are dying," Abu Nabil, a resident of Jabalia, told AFP.

Israel's main supporter, the United States, also opposed to a major offensive at Rafah, announced a visit to Israel today by White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

11:39 Beirut Time

Since the start of the ground offensive in the town of Rafah, on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, on May 7, shelling and fighting have intensified around Nusseirat, and further north in Gaza City and Jabalia, where the Israeli army claims to be carrying out "targeted" operations. This morning, witnesses reported explosions and continuous fighting throughout the night in Jabalia.

In the north of the Gaza Strip, artillery fire was heard in the Sheikh Zayed area, while in the south, on the border with Egypt, witnesses described Israeli helicopters opening fire in the eastern city of Rafah.

The al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza City reports that three people were killed and several injured in an Israeli airstrike on a school sheltering displaced persons in the al-Daraj neighbourhood.

11:38 Beirut Time

While an agreement on a truce still seems a long way off, Israel continues to bombard the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli airstrike killed 20 people in a house in the Nusseirat refugee camp in the center of the enclave before dawn this morning, according to reports from Al-Aqsa Hospital and witnesses quoted by AFP. The Israeli army says it is verifying the facts.

11:36 Beirut Time


Today marks the 226th day of the war in the Gaza Strip. It is also the 225th day since the opening of a front in southern Lebanon between Hezbollah and the Israeli army.

Follow our live coverage of the conflict and its repercussions in the region here.