A firefighter extinguishes the flames on motorcycle hit by an Israeli drone along a road between Aitaroun and Bint Jbeil, in southern Lebanon, June 15, 2024. (Photo obtained by our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah)


Islamic Jihad fighter killed in drone strike this morning in southern Lebanon: Day 253 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

Hezbollah announces two new strikes to avenge the death of Taleb Abdallah.

US officials fear an "all-out assault" by the Israeli army in Lebanon.

WHO expresses concern at the worsening health crisis in the occupied West Bank.

19:21 Beirut Time

The funeral of Sally Skaiki and Dalal Ezzeddine who were killed in an Israeli strike between Jenata and Deir Qanoun al-Nahr (Sour district) on Thursday night which also injured at least 20 people, were organized by Amal Movement in Deir Qanoun al-Nahr.

Skaiki was a paramedic for Amal's rescue organization and her casket was wrapped with the party's flag, while Ezzeddine's was covered with a Lebanese one.

During the ceremony, Amal MP Ali Khreis said that his party "is still a resistance that gives martyrs for the country against a criminal zionist enemy that doesn't know anything about humanity."

17:41 Beirut Time

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has accepted an invitation to visit the Pentagon, according to a statement released by a Pentagon spokesperson and published in several Israeli media, including Haaretz.

In a call with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Tuesday, Austin "invited him to visit the Pentagon to further discuss ongoing security developments in the Middle East," the spokesperson said in a statement, adding that Gallant "accepted the invitation and will travel to the US soon."

16:59 Beirut Time

This morning's targeted Israeli strike between Bint Jbeil and Aitaroun killed an Islamic Jihad fighter, the Palestinian armed group announced in a statement.

The victim is Mohammad Zouheir Khalil Jalbout, aged 45. He "died in south Lebanon as part of the battle of the al-Aqsa Flood," said the text, which refers to the name of Hamas's deadly operation in Israel on Oct. 7.

Medical and security sources had confirmed in the morning that the victim was Palestinian, and that the other person with him on the motorcycle, who was wounded, was Lebanese. The Israeli army announced that it had eliminated a "Hezbollah member."

16:43 Beirut Time

After Hezbollah claimed responsibility for a strike on the Khirbet Ma'ar barracks with a "squadron of drones," Haaretz reported that "several drones" from Lebanon "crashed" into northern Israel, where they caused fires.

Warning sirens went off when these drones crossed the border, according to the Israeli newspaper. 

16:14 Beirut Time

Updates from the Lebanese-Israeli border:

• Hezbollah announced another strike in retaliation for the assassination of Taleb Abdallah in Jwayya on Tuesday evening. According to a party statement, Hezbollah fighters sent "a squadron of drones to the Khirbet Ma'ar base," which houses "the headquarters of the artillery battalion of the Western Brigade" of the Israeli army, and is located opposite Boustane, in Sour district. According to Hezbollah, the strike destroyed part of the base, caused a fire and caused deaths and injuries among soldiers.

• The Israeli army fired artillery shells on the outskirts of Jabal Blat and Ras Naqoura, both in Sour district, L'Orient Today's correspondent in the south reports, citing residents.

16:06 Beirut Time

The Israeli army has taken responsibility for this morning's drone strike on a motorcycle near Bint Jbeil that killed a Palestinian man and wounded his Lebanese companion. The army's Arabic-speaking spokesperson claimed in a post on X that the attack had targeted a member of Hezbollah. The party has not announced the death of any of its fighters since June 12.

15:39 Beirut Time

UNICEF spokesperson James Elder told Al Jazeera today that a truck carrying nutritional and medical supplies for 10,000 children was prevented by the Israeli army from passing through a checkpoint into Gaza City.

The aid had been preapproved by Israeli authorities and was on its way the city, once the most populous in the Strip, from Deir al-Balah, a 40-kilometer round trip.

“It took 13 hours and we spent eight of those around checkpoints, arguing around paperwork – was it a truck or a van,” Elder said. “The reality is, this truck was denied access. Those 10,000 children did not get that aid.”

15:24 Beirut Time

The mayor of Wazzani, in Hasbaya district, Ahmad Mohammad, told our correspondent that a fire that broke out on the village's outskirts following Israeli artillery fire continues to burn.

"Every time we put out a fire, the fire starts in another place because of Israeli artillery," he said. "Some fires are far away and can't be reached. We watch helplessly as the fire devours our land and trees."

He added that last night, Israeli machine-gun fire wounded a Syrian woman in the village. She was taken to hospital for treatment.

On Thursday, videos circulated showing Israeli soldiers catapulting balls of fire over the border wall and into southern Lebanon, which Haaretz reports, was being done in order to burn down trees and bushes that the army believed were concealing Hezbollah military infrastructure and troop movements.

👉 Read more about the heightened risk of wildfires in southern Lebanon as a result of the Israeli army's use of incendiary weapons and white phosphorous.

14:28 Beirut Time

Ali’s friend called him that night; his car had broken down and he needed some help. Five minutes before the strike, Ali left his wife and two children, who were spending the evening with Sally, sitting on the terrace outside of the apartment building they all lived in. He heard the explosion from far away and rushed immediately home, fearing the worst.

He was among the first to arrive at the scene. The dust had not yet settled and smoke filled the air. “I saw things no one should see. There were civilians, lots of children. I thought I was going to find my family dead, that I was going to have to carry them, lifeless.”

He managed to find his daughter, blown away from where she had been sitting by the force of the explosion. His 5-year-old son was trying to free his mother from under the rubble, removing debris from the stone that had landed on her.

Click here to read the testimonies of friends, families and neighbors of the two women killed by the Israeli strike overnight on Thursday in southern Lebanon, between the towns of Jenata and Deir al-Qanoun.

13:46 Beirut Time

U.S. officials told CBS News that they interpret recent Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon, especially those further north from the border, as the army preparing for a "sweeping assault" on the country.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they are increasingly concerned that Israel will start a war against Hezbollah that it cannot finish without American support.

According to the CBS report published last night, still other U.S. officials say that their apprehension is focused on Hezbollah. They described to the American outlet a scenario in which the volume of rocket strikes against northern Israel could result in "unintended consequences" that might trigger a domino effect of escalatory and retaliatory responses that lead to "an unintended war."

A senior Biden administration official told reporters in Italy Thursday, "The most important thing about the hostage release and cease-fire deal that's on the table now is that if it's achieved, it can have an impact in the north [of Israel], so that is an opportunity for us to be able to bring this conflict to a full close."

13:38 Beirut Time

News from the front between Hezbollah and the Israeli army:

• Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for an attack carried out at 10:37 a.m. with a "guided missile" against Israeli soldiers deployed at the "Hadab Yaroun" site, opposite the southern Lebanese village of Yaroun, in the Bint Jbeil district. According to the party, the attack resulted in "deaths and injuries." The Israeli army, cited by Haaretz, reported that two shells fell in the area, without causing an casualties or damage.

• Al-Risala Scouts medical association, affiliated with Amal, says it transported victims from the motorcycle strike earlier this morning to hospitals in the region. According to medical and security sources, the Israeli drone attack killed one Palestinian, whose identity has not yet been specified, and wounded one other Lebanese man.

• The outskirts of Deir Mimas, in Marjayoun district, were also targeted by artillery fire.

13:33 Beirut Time

At around 10 a.m., Hezbollah claimed responsibility for a strike on Meron, located opposite the southern Lebanese town of Rmeish, in the Bint Jbeil district. One of the Israeli army's air control bases is located in Meron and is regularly targeted by the party.

This attack, which Hezbollah claims led to the "destruction of part of its infrastructure and radars," was carried out in response to "the assassination committed by the enemy in Jwayya," where Taleb Abdallah, a senior Hezbollah military commander was assassinated on June 11.

The response his killing was marked by significant escalation. Click here for a map showing the various positions targeted in Hezbollah's retaliatory strikes on northern Israel.

12:31 Beirut Time

The crew of a Greek-owned vessel damaged in an attack by Yemen’s Houthis has been evacuated and the abandoned ship is drifting in the Red Sea, according to the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).

One crew member from Tutor, the Liberia-flagged coal carrier, remains missing, said officials in the Philippines cited in a Reuters report, after an attack near the Yemeni port of Hodeidah on Wednesday caused severe flooding and damage to the engine room, leaving the vessel unable to maneuver.

The search for one missing sailor will continue today and there is a plan to start salvaging operations for the Tutor, said Hans Leo Cacdac, the Philippines' migrant workers minister. The vessel's 22 crew members were all Filipinos.

👉 Read the full report here

12:06 Beirut Time

Here are further updates from southern Lebanon this morning, in addition to the strike on the motorcycle:

• The Israeli army fired incendiary shells on the outskirts of Aitaroun, in Bint Jbeil district, causing a fire to break out, residents report.

• Israeli artillery fire also targeted the outskirts of Wazzani, in Hasbaya district.

• Israeli drones flew over several regions of southern Lebanon, including Naqoura and Qana, in Sour district, Kfar Roummane and Nabatieh, in Nabatieh district, and in the western Bekaa, our correspondent reports, citing residents.

11:46 Beirut Time

At around 10 a.m., an Israeli drone struck a motorcycle traveling between Bint Jbeil and Aitaroun, in southern Lebanon, killing one person and injuring another, according to witnesses, and security and medical sources contacted by our correspondent in the south, Muntasser Abdallah.

According to these sources, the victim of the strike was Palestinian, while the injured person is Lebanese. They were both riding on the motorcycle when it was targeted by the drone.

Photos obtained by L'Orient Today show the charred shell of the two-wheeler on the side of a road, no more than a dozen meters away from a building with apartments and shops, in a residential neighborhood.

11:40 Beirut Time

The U.S. military is preparing to temporarily remove its humanitarian pier off the coast of Gaza because of anticipated sea conditions, a U.S. official said yesterday evening, cited by Reuters.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the pier would likely be moved to the Israeli port of Ashdod until sea conditions improve.

The pier received its first aid shipment on May 17 more than two months after U.S. President Joe Biden first announced the project. But nine days after it had finally started operations, the U.S. announced the pier had broken apart in stormy weather. It was repaired and reopened again on June 7. Two Pentagon officials told the Washington Post that the repairs would cost at least $22 million.

Humanitarian organizations have criticized the pier for being an aesthetic and political project rather than a practical way of delivering critical aid to Palestinians who have now enduring more than eight months of relentless warfare.

11:29 Beirut Time

Good morning and welcome to today's live coverage of the war on Gaza, the war along the southern Lebanese border, and the repercussions of the conflict in the region.

🔴 You can catch up on yesterday's live coverage here. 👈