An Israeli soldier gestures while in a military vehicle in Israel near the Israel-Gaza border, June 23, 2024. (Credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)


Israel claims responsibility for strike on Hezbollah structure in eastern Bekaa: Day 262 of the war on Gaza

What you need to know

Senior medical official killed in Israeli strike on Gaza hospital

Relative decrease in intensity of exchanges of fire in southern Lebanon, on both sides.

Yoav Gallant left for Washington "to discuss developments in Gaza and Lebanon".

21:54 Beirut Time

Thank you for joining us for today's coverage of the Gaza war and its regional impacts! Make sure to tune back in tomorrow morning.

21:24 Beirut Time

Hezbollah announced that it had successfully targeted a building used by the Israeli army in the locality of Yara'oun, opposite Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil district). The party claimed to have launched the attack in retaliation for the Israeli air force's bombardment earlier in the day of several localities in this district: Aitaroun, Maroun el-Ras and Blida.

21:14 Beirut Time

⚡At around 6:30 p.m., a drone fired three missiles into the eastern mountain ranges between the villages of Janta and Yahfoufa in eastern Bekaa, our correspondent in the area reported, citing a security source.

In a message posted on X, Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee said that Israeli aircraft had attacked "a terrorist structure used by Hezbollah's air defense unit" in the Baalbeck region. The party has not yet commented on the incident.

21:01 Beirut Time

According to the Jerusalem Post, quoting high-ranking Israeli officials, "The countdown to a potential war with Hezbollah has begun, and Israeli officials said they had no other choice.

The quote was published in an opinion piece on Sunday evening and was reprised this evening by Lebanese media.

20:44 Beirut Time

The Israeli Hostage and Missing Families Forum released on Monday a video showing the kidnapping of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, Or Levy, Eliya Cohen and Alon Ohel, at the request of their relatives, Haaretz reports.

The four were abducted and taken into the Gaza Strip from a bomb shelter after escaping from the Nova music festival in Re'im on the morning of Oct. 7.

The video, which is 1 minute and 37 seconds long, is made up of footage from Hamas members’ bodycams. It has been edited based on the families' request, with the face of Ohel and other details being blurred. It shows the moment the four were kidnapped from a roadside bomb shelter and their abduction into Gaza on a Hamas pickup truck.

250 Israelis were abducted by Hamas members on that same day, and 1,139 others were killed according to official Israeli numbers.

20:17 Beirut Time

Reconciliation talks between the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fateh, originally scheduled for this month in China, have been postponed and no new date has been set, officials from both factions told Reuters on Monday.

After hosting a meeting of Palestinian factions in April, China announced that Fateh, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas were ready to reconcile at unity talks in Beijing. Representatives of both factions had previously indicated that the meeting would be held in mid-June.

19:30 Beirut Time

In southern Lebanon:

* The Israeli air force bombed the towns of Aitaroun and Maroun al-Ras, in the Bint Jbeil district, shortly after its raid on Blida, according to reports from local residents.

18:25 Beirut Time

* Residents have reported to our correspondent Israeli air strikes on the town of Blida (Bint Jbeil district).

18:20 Beirut Time

In southern Lebanon, Hezbollah announced its first two attacks of the day:

* The first targeted a deployment of Israeli soldiers between Manara and Margaliot, near the Lebanese town of Markaba (Marjayoun caza), with "appropriate weapons."

* The second targeted another group of soldiers near the Samaka site in the disputed Kfar Shuba hills.

16:56 Beirut Time

There is a dispute over U.S. arms deliveries after Benjamin Netanyahu criticized a delay in their transfer to Israel.

Yesterday, Netanyahu declared that this "dispute" with Washington will be "resolved shortly" during a meeting with his government.

"In light of what I've heard over the past few days, I hope and believe that this issue will be resolved soon."

16:23 Beirut Time

Mohammad Raad speaks a commemorative ceremony organized by Hezbollah in the southern town of Adsheet (Marjayoun district)

The head of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc Mohammad Raad emphasized that those calling for an end to the ongoing fighting in Lebanon should direct their calls towards Israel rather than Lebanon, which has only shown solidarity with the oppressed in Gaza. Raad spoke during a commemorative ceremony organized by the party in the southern town of Adsheet (Marjayoun district) for Jihad Ahmad Hayek, a member killed by Israel.

"Some of the rumors in the past two weeks about diplomatic withdrawals and threats to Beirut airport are mere fabrications. These are promoted by Arab media loyal to decaying regimes, Western dependence, and individuals who rush toward normalization with the Israeli enemy," he said.

He also urged people to rely on credible sources for news and analysis.

16:17 Beirut Time

Developments in southern Lebanon in the early afternoon:

* The village of Taybeh (Marjayoun district) came under attack from Israeli drones coming from the direction of the town of Odaisseh, according to local residents who spoke to our correspondent. A little later, the village was again targeted by Israeli artillery, which fired two shells into the village square and two more near its cemetery.

* Israeli artillery fired incendiary bombs into the sky over Shebaa, causing fires in the area. The shells that hit the Shebaa valley were phosphorus bombs, according to residents.

* Finally, a mortar shell exploded near a Civil Defense team from the Islamic Health Authority in Taybeh, while its members were trying to extinguish the fire caused by the shells. One of the team members was wounded in the chest. He was taken to the nearest hospital, reports our correspondent.

15:56 Beirut Time

"The collapse of civil order is giving rise to widespread smuggling and looting" in the Gaza Strip, which is "preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid (desperately needed by the population)," denounced the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in the region (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, on Monday, reports AFP.

"Palestinians and Israelis have suffered terrible losses and have suffered enormously (...) Gaza has been decimated. For more than two million Gazans, it's a living hell."

Read his full statement here

14:13 Beirut Time

Gaza's Health Ministry announced today a new death toll of 37,626 since the start of the war more than eight months ago, reports AFP.

At least 28 people have been killed in the last 24 hours, it said in a statement, adding that 86,098 people had been wounded in the Gaza Strip since October 7.

13:49 Beirut Time

Mousa Hjeij, who was injured in an Israeli strike last week in the village of Bourgholiyeh in Sour district succumbed to his injuries today, a medical source told L'Orient Today.

Until now, no armed group announced that Hjeij was a fighter in their ranks.

* Since Oct. 8, 470 people were killed by Israel in Lebanon, 74 of which are civilians, according to L'Orient Today's count. 

13:29 Beirut Time

Here are the latest developments from the southern Lebanese-Israeli border:

- The Israeli army shelled the outskirts of the villages of Rabb Thalathin and Odaisseh, both in Marjayoun district, residents told L’Orient Today.

- Israeli jets broke the sound barrier in several areas in South Lebanon and the Bekaa, L'Orient Today’s correspondents reported.

12:59 Beirut Time

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stated today that the Middle East is on the brink of seeing the conflict spread into Lebanon, following threats from Hezbollah against EU member Cyprus, Reuters reported.

"The risk of this war affecting the south of Lebanon and spilling over is every day bigger," Borrell told reporters ahead of a foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg.

"We are on the eve of the war expanding."

12:54 Beirut Time

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza City resulted in conflicting reports about the casualties, Reuters reported. 

- Gaza's health ministry reported that the strike killed Hani al-Jaafarawi, director of Gaza's Ambulance and Emergency Department. According to Civil Defense spokesman Mahmoud Basal, two health professionals were killed in the air strike on the Al-Daraj hospital in Gaza City, including al-Jafarwari — bringing the death toll of medical staff since Oct. 7 to 500, with 300 others detained.

- Israel's military stated the strike targeted Mohammad Salah, a senior Hamas member who “was part of a project to develop strategic weaponry for the Hamas,” Reuters reported. 

11:41 Beirut Time

A senior U.S. military officer quoted by the Associated Press warned yesterday that an Israeli military offensive in Lebanon could provoke an Iranian response in defense of Hezbollah, potentially sparking a broader conflict that might endanger U.S. forces in the region.

Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that Iran "would be more inclined to support Hezbollah," noting Tehran's existing backing of Hamas militants in Gaza. Brown also indicated that the U.S. might not be in a position to assist in defending Israel against an expanded Hezbollah conflict, as it did in April when countering an Iranian barrage of missiles and drones.

11:33 Beirut Time

- North Macedonia urged its nationals in Lebanon yesterday to depart "at the first possible opportunity" due to the "deteriorating security situation." In a statement the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also advised against "non-essential travel" to Lebanon, citing concerns that the situation may deteriorate further, limiting departure options.

- On Friday, Kuwait advised its citizens to leave Lebanon "as soon as possible."

- Canada announced preparations for potentially evacuating 45,000 of its citizens from the country amid escalating tensions between Israel and Hezbollah.

11:30 Beirut Time

Israeli night strikes in southern Lebanon continued:

- At 9 p.m., Israeli artillery fire targeted Khiam, causing fires in several buildings

- Israeli artillery also targeted an area between Kfar Kila and Deir Mimas, in Marjayoun district.

- Israeli machine-gun fire targetted Kfar Kila, leading to power outages in the town and surrounding villages.

- At 11:30 p.m., an Israeli warplane bombed a house in Aitaroun (Bint Jbeil). 

11:27 Beirut Time

Here are last night's updates on Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon:

- Since 7:00 p.m., the Israeli army launched a series of strikes in southern Lebanon, according to security sources contacted by our local correspondent Mountasser Abdallah.

- At 7:30 p.m., a fighter jet bombed the western entrance to Khiam (Marjayoun district)

- Israeli white phosphorus shells targeted a house in Rabb Thalathin (Marjayoun), causing it to catch fire.

- The Civil Defense, whose team was deployed to Rabb Thalathin, also reported extinguishing a fire caused by Israeli strikes in Kfar Kila (Marjayoun).

11:25 Beirut Time

Following Hezbollah's attack last night, Haaretz reported that Haifa's Rambam Medical Center announced it had received one Israeli who was "seriously wounded" in an anti-tank missile strike and another "slightly wounded." According to Israeli media, both individuals are members of the Metoula rescue team and were injured while assisting residents in retrieving belongings from a house set on fire after a rocket attack on Saturday.

11:24 Beirut Time

Here are last night's updates from the southern Lebanese-Israeli border:

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for two strikes against Israeli targets:

- The first, targeted the Roueissat el-Qarn site in the disputed Shebaa Farms with missiles at 7:10 p.m.

- The second, announced at around 10 p.m., targeted an Israeli military vehicle in Metoula after "precise tracking," using guided missiles. Hezbollah added that the strike "killed and wounded" the vehicle's crew.

11:23 Beirut Time

The Israeli delegation's meeting in Washington comes at a time when "the American red light against an Israeli offensive in Lebanon has turned orange," noted Firas Maksad, a researcher at the Middle East Institute in Washington, in response to questions from our journalist Lyana Alameddine regarding revelations made by CNN over the weekend.

CNN reported that in the event of an "all-out war" with Hezbollah, the United States has assured Israel of its support.

To read Firas Maksad's full interview with L'Orient Today, press here.👈

11:19 Beirut Time

In a period marked by renewed tension between Netanyahu and the White House, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant departed for Washington to "discuss developments in Gaza and Lebanon."

Addressing relations with Washington, Gallant emphasized in a statement that "ties [with the U.S.] are crucial and perhaps more important than ever, at this time.” 

11:18 Beirut Time

According to witnesses on the ground, shells yesterday targeted the east, west, and center of Rafah in southern Gaza, where the Israeli army has been conducting a ground offensive since May 7th.

Air strikes struck Gaza City to the north, while tanks shelled the Nousseirat camp in the center of the strip.

11:17 Beirut Time

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that the "intense phase of the war with Hamas is about to end," after which the focus of the Israeli army will shift to Lebanon's border.

"This does not mean that the war is about to end, but the war in its intense phase is about to end in Rafah," he said in an interview with Israel's Channel 14. "After the end of the intense phase, we will have the opportunity to move some forces to the north."

He also asserted that "the objective is to recover the hostages and uproot the Hamas regime in Gaza".

11:16 Beirut Time

Good morning ☕

Thank you for joining our live coverage of the Gaza war and its effects on the region.

It is day 262 of the war on the strip and day 261 of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah on the Lebanese-Israeli border.