The aftermath of an Israeli drone strike on a car in Shehabieh on June 17, 2024. (Photo sent by residents to L'Orient Today's correspondent)


US envoy Amos Hochstein discusses 'incessant Hezbollah attacks' with Netanyahu and Herzog: Day 255 of the Gaza war

What you need to know

A Hezbollah member was killed in an Israeli drone strike on a car in southern Lebanon.

Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved the Israeli War Cabinet.

Hezbollah claimed no attacks against Israel during the two days of Eid al-Adha.

Amos Hochstein is expected in Lebanon in the next few days.

18:59 Beirut Time

This concludes our live coverage for today. Be sure to return tomorrow for all of the latest updates.

Enjoy your evening and, once again, Eid Mubarak!

18:57 Beirut Time

Israeli artillery targeted Aita al-Shaab (Bint Jbeil), local residents reported.

18:51 Beirut Time

Israeli aircraft targeted a home in Shaqra (Sour) injuring three people, residents told L'Orient Today's correspondent.

The village of Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil), recently hit, was hit a second time, according to local residents.

18:46 Beirut Time

The Israeli army announced that it killed Mohammad Ayoub, "a senior Hezbollah official," reported Haaretz. The party announced his death a few hours ago.

According to the Israeli army, Ayoub was "an important member of Hezbollah's Nasr Unit, which operates near the Israeli border and is responsible for firing rockets, drones and missiles into northern Israel." It added that in recent months, this party member was "directly involved in the increase in rocket fire" against Israel.

18:29 Beirut Time

Israeli artillery shelling targeted Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil), local residents reported.

18:05 Beirut Time

"I can confirm that U.S. President Joe Biden's envoy [Amos Hochstein] ... has met with our prime minister," Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer told a press briefing quoted by AFP.

Mencer said that Hezbollah had fired more than 5,000 rockets, anti-tank missiles and explosive drones into Israeli territory since the start of the Gaza conflict. "We are defending ourselves against Hezbollah's aggression. There is no territorial dispute between Lebanon and Israel," he added.

Hochstein also met Israeli President Isaac Herzog, discussing with him "the incessant attacks and rocket fire by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah towards Israel's northern cities," according to the Israeli presidency.

17:56 Beirut Time

An Israeli drone fired a missile at a house in the village of Kfar Kila (Marjayoun) in southern Lebanon, residents told L'Orient Today's correspondent.

17:18 Beirut Time

An Israeli drone fell in the Syrian province of Quneitra, in the Golan Heights, Haaretz reports, citing the Israeli army. "An investigation into the incident is underway," added the Israeli newspaper.

16:52 Beirut Time

U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein, a senior advisor to U.S. President Joe Biden who is currently in Israel, reportedly "took part in indirect talks with Hezbollah" via Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing "a source close to the matter."

The talks are said to have focused on "a preliminary agreement to end hostilities" on the border between Israel and Lebanon, which would be contingent on a cease-fire in Gaza.

16:10 Beirut Time

U.S. special envoy Amos Hochstein is currently in Israel today for talks aimed at "de-escalating tensions with Hezbollah," according to a report from The Times of Israel. He already met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as reported by Haaretz, at Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem. Hochstein's agenda includes meetings with President Isaac HerzogPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli defense officials, recently resigned war cabinet minister Benny Gantz, and opposition leader Yair Lapid, as per the Times of Israel. Hochstein, who played a key role in brokering a significant maritime demarcation deal between Israel and Lebanon in 2022, is scheduled to meet with Speaker Berri at 10:45 a.m. tomorrow.

15:55 Beirut Time

Relatives of slain Hezbollah fighters visit their graves during the Muslim festival of Adha, in Naqoura, southern Lebanon, on June 17, 2024. (Credit: Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP)

15:29 Beirut Time

(Credit: Hezbollah Media Office)

Hezbollah announced the death of its member Mohammed Ayoub, born in 1979 in the southern town of Salaa (Sour). A security source told L'Orient Today that he was killed in the Israeli airstrike earlier today in Shehabiyeh (Sour). This brings the total number of Hezbollah members killed in Lebanon and Syria since Oct. 8 to 345.

15:28 Beirut Time

The Government Media Office in Gaza announced Israel’s killing of Mahmoud Qassem, a Palestinian journalist working with digital publication Palestine Online.

It did not elaborate on the location and the date of the killing.

His death brought the number of journalists killed during Israel’s war on Gaza to 151, it said in a Telegram post.

14:47 Beirut Time

"The resistance's fight on the southern front is dedicated solely to protecting a united Lebanon, far from narrow confessional considerations and deadly dreams of federalism," declared Jaafarite mufti Sheikh Ahmad Kabalan on Monday during his Adha preaching in Beirut's southern suburbs.

He castigated "those who make the wrong strategic choices" and those "who continue to build hopes on a burning Israel," in an allusion to some opponents' voices denouncing Hezbollah's opening of the front.

14:40 Beirut Time

Hostilities continue in Rafah and the southern Gaza Strip despite the Israeli army's announcement on Sunday of tactical pauses in operations to allow the entry of humanitarian aid, Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA (the UN agency for Palestinian refugees), told reporters in Oslo.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday criticized plans announced by the army to organize daily breaks in the fighting along one of the main roads leading to the Palestinian enclave. Lazzarini, Commissioner General of UNRWA, the main organization providing humanitarian aid to Gaza, said there had been no pause in the fighting.

"There have been reports that such a decision has been taken, but the political level says no decision has been taken," Lazzarini told a news conference. "So for the time being, I can tell you that hostilities are continuing in Rafah and in the south of the Gaza Strip. And operationally, nothing has changed yet.

Over the weekend, the Israeli army announced daily pauses from 5:00 a.m. GMT to 4:00 p.m. GMT in the area from the Kerem Shalom crossing point in southern Israel to the Salah al-Din road, then northwards. It then specified that normal operations would continue at Rafah, the main support point for its operation in the southern Gaza Strip.

13:58 Beirut Time

Photo shows rescue teams at the site of the Israeli strike on Shehabiyeh (Sour). (Credit: Photo sent by the Islamic Scout Association to L'Orient Today)

The Civil Defense unit in the Islamic Association Scouts, affiliated with Amal movement, said its team "participated in rescue and firefighting operations following the airstrike on the town of Shehabieh (Sour). The injured have been transported to hospitals in the region."

13:51 Beirut Time

"Hezbollah's increasing aggression brings us to the brink of what could be a wider escalation – one that could have devastating consequences for Lebanon and the entire region," said Israeli Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, army spokesman, on Sunday evening.

"Israel has a duty to defend the people of Israel. We will fulfill this duty," he added in a video published by the Israeli army's X account.

13:38 Beirut Time

Israel "won't get through diplomacy what it couldn't get on the ground," said MP Hassan Fadlallah, a member of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc, during a tour of villages in southern Lebanon to mark the Adha holiday.

"If the US administration wants to get Netanyahu out of his mess, it has no other way but to stop the war [in Gaza], because the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine is not going to offer any gifts to the enemy," he added.

The MP added that Israel "will have to evacuate the land occupied by the Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese peoples," stressing that the resistance in Lebanon "has succeeded in imposing a balance of terror."

13:34 Beirut Time

Here is an update on the situation in southern Lebanon:

- The man who was killed in the Israeli strike on Shehabieh (Sour) is allegedly a Hezbollah member, local and security sources told L'Orient Today.

- Israeli artillery shelling targeted Khiam and Kfar Kila (Marjayoun.)

- Israeli fighter jets breached the sound barrier and released flares over multiple regions in Lebanon. The affected areas include Sour, Nabatieh, the Zahrani region, and Iqlim al-Tuffah, as reported by L'Orient Today's correspondent in the south. Additionally, Israeli fighter jets broke the sound barrier over the Western Bekaa twice, according to L'Orient Today's correspondent in the Bekaa.

13:31 Beirut Time

The Ministry of Health of the Gaza government has announced a new death toll of 37,347 since the start of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement more than eight months ago.

At least 10 people have been killed in the last 24 hours, it said in a statement, adding that 85,372 people had been wounded in the Palestinian territory since the war began on Oct. 7.

13:21 Beirut Time

Israeli troops raided homes in several villages near Ramallah and arrested at least three people, in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The raids took place in the villages of Silwad, Kafr Malek, Deir Nidham and Ni'lin, all in the Ramallah governorate.

13:20 Beirut Time

Norway's Minister for International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, announced that her country will increase its current budget of NOK 275 million (around $25 million) to UNRWA (UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees) by a further NOK 100 million (around $9 million), reports Reuters.

13:19 Beirut Time

Regarding the drone strike that killed a man in Shehabieh, Israeli army radio GLZ reported on X that the victim "is a member of Hezbollah."

The party has not yet commented on the strike and did not claim responsibility for any attack against Israel yesterday, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Adha. Nor did Hezbollah claim any attack this morning.

12:59 Beirut Time

In addition to the strike on Shehabieh, here are the latest developments in southern Lebanon:

- An Israeli drone fired two rockets at the southern villages of the village of Mais al-Jabal (Marjayoun) at around 11.30 a.m., targeting a house, according to residents quoted by L'Orient Today correspondent.

- The Israeli army shelled the road leading from the village of Kfar Kila to Deir Mimas, as well as the plain of Khiam (Marjayoun) and the outskirts of Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil), again according to local residents.

- An Israeli bombardment targeted a wooded area between the villages of Kfar Hamam and Rashaya al-Foukhar (Hasbaya).

- An Israeli drone flew over the village of Bint Jbeil and was "targeted by machine guns," according to local residents.

- The villages of Jibbain and Yarine (Sour) were also targeted by Israel.

12:41 Beirut Time

A car destroyed after a targeted Israeli strike in Shehabieh (Sour), June 17, 2024. (Photo sent by local residents to L'Orient Today's correspondent)

An Israeli drone carried out a targeted strike on a car in the vicinity of the village of Shehabieh (Sour) at around 12:20 p.m., according to a security source quoted by L'Orient Today's correspondent.

One person was seriously injured in the strike and later died of their wounds.

12:04 Beirut Time

Demonstrators try to block traffic during a mobilization against Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem, June 17, 2024. (Credit: Ilan Rosenberg/Reuters)

Israeli anti-government activists continue their protests for a second consecutive day, as part of their "week of disruption" to demand new elections, reports al-Jazeera.

This morning, demonstrators blocked several highways and intersections in Israel, reports the Times of Israel. These included Highway 1, the main road linking Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, according to messages posted on Israeli social networks. High school students in central Israel also staged strikes as part of the protests.

11:55 Beirut Time

At 8 a.m., Israeli artillery fire targeted an uninhabited house in Kfar Kila (Marjayoun) without causing any injuries, according to local residents.

Residents of Dhaira (Sour) tried to return to their homes, but the Israeli army intimidated them with bursts of fire.

11:48 Beirut Time

Here is an update on the situation last night in southern Lebanon:

- After 7 p.m., Israeli jets carried out an airstrike on the town of Taybeh (Marjayoun) with two missiles, but they did not explode. A drone strike targeted the outskirts of the town of Mahybib (Marjayoun), and there was Israeli artillery shelling on the town of Yaroun (Bint Jbeil).

- At 10 p.m., Israeli artillery shelled the outskirts of the villages of Rab El Thalathine, Marakaba, Odaisseh, and Taybeh (Marjayoun), and three shells landed on the outskirts of Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil).

- After midnight, Israeli artillery shelling targeted a valley between the towns of Ramieh and Beit Lif (Bint Jbeil). Israel also targeted the outskirts of Naqoura (Sour).

- No military operations by Hezbollah were recorded yesterday.

11:30 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved the war cabinet and says he will continue to consult a restricted "forum" on sensitive decisions, Haaretz reports.

The war cabinet consisted of six members.

Netanyahu's decision follows the departure of centrist Benny Gantz from the government. The Israeli Prime Minister faced demands from his religious-nationalist coalition partners, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, to be included in the war cabinet, a decision that would have intensified tensions with international partners, including the United States.

11:27 Beirut Time

The Gaza Strip experienced a day of relative calm yesterday after the Israeli army announced a pause in its operations along a road in the south of the Palestinian territory, where the U.N. fears widespread famine, to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.

An AFP correspondent reported that calm was being maintained in most areas in the evening, following the expiry of the pause, which the army said would be observed "from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day until further notice," on a ten-kilometer stretch of road.

11:25 Beirut Time

The Gaza Strip experienced a day of relative calm yesterday after the Israeli army announced a pause in its operations along a road in the south of the Palestinian territory, where the U.N. fears widespread famine, to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.

An AFP correspondent reported that calm was being maintained in most areas in the evening, following the expiry of the pause, which the army said would be observed "from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day until further notice," on a ten-kilometer stretch of road.

11:23 Beirut Time

U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday defended his country's cease-fire plan in Gaza in a message to Muslims for the Adha holiday, seeing it as the best way to help civilians caught up in the "horrors of the war between Hamas and Israel."

"Too many innocent people have been killed, including thousands of children. Families have fled their homes and seen their communities destroyed. Their grief is immense," wrote Biden in a statement issued on the occasion of the Feast of Sacrifice, the biggest in the Muslim calendar, which commemorates the sacrifice that God demanded of Abraham when he asked for the life of his son, who was finally spared.

"I firmly believe that Israel's three-phase ceasefire proposal to Hamas, supported by the U.N. Security Council, is the best way to end the violence in Gaza and ultimately end the war," added the Democratic president.

11:21 Beirut Time

Good morning and Eid Mubarak!

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