Israel launched overnight airstrikes on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, according to a statement from the Israeli army. “The Israeli army is striking military targets of the terrorist organisation Hezbollah on Lebanese territory,” the statement said.
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There are growing fears of an escalation between the pro-Iran Lebanese group Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, and Israel. Israeli authorities began evacuating thousands of residents from at least 28 locations across the Israel-Lebanon border after clashes.
US President Joe Biden will travel to Israel tomorrow to show solidarity with the Israeli people following the October 7 Hamas attacks, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “On Wednesday, @POTUS will visit Israel. He’s coming here at a critical moment for Israel, for the region, and for the world,” Mr Blinken wrote on X.
Blinken said the US also received guarantees from Israel to cooperate on bringing foreign aid into the impoverished and blockaded Gaza Strip, as Israeli forces prepare a ground offensive against the Hamas-held territory.
Hamas spokesperson Abu Obeideh said yesterday that the threat of an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza “does not scare us and we are ready for it”.
In a televised statement, Hamas’ Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades have been holding 200 people captive since their massive attack on southern Israel on October 7, with about 50 others held by other armed groups in other locations.
More than 1,400 were killed in the land-sea-air assault by Hamas on Israel. In retaliation, Israeli airstrikes have killed over 2,750 people in Gaza.
The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) warned on Monday that the lack of water in Gaza under the Israeli blockade is forcing people to drink from contaminated sources, which could lead to the spread of diseases.
The Israeli military has amassed armored vehicles on the outskirts of Gaza in preparation for a ground-based assault. Israeli authorities have said that any ground offensive on Gaza would depend on a “political decision”. In preparation for a potential attack, Israel, along with the combined might of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli Air Force (IAF), has deployed over 400,000 reservists.
Israel has singled out Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas commander in Gaza, as the man responsible for the October 7 attacks. Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Richard Hecht has termed Sinwar as “a dead man walking”.
The Arab League and African Union have issued stark warnings about the dire consequences of a ground offensive, going as far as saying that a potential invasion would result in “a genocide of unprecedented proportions”.