BEIRUT: Several students were left injured after Israeli shelling on Thursday struck an educational institution in the southern Lebanese town of Qunin.
The attack came amid ongoing border exchanges between the Israeli army and Hezbollah.
Qunin, in Lebanon’s Bint Jbeil district, is 120 km from Beirut but not directly on the border. It was hit by a series of explosions, and videos posted on social media showed rockets landing in the town and residents running for safety.
Witnesses claimed smoke bombs were followed by artillery shelling.
The Israeli army said that Israeli Air Force fighter jets “hit a series of targets for Hezbollah on Lebanese territory, including terrorist infrastructure, missile launch sites, and Hezbollah’s military outposts.
“A number of shootings were spotted from Lebanese territory toward Israeli territory earlier in the day, prompting the army to attack the sources of the shooting.”
Lebanese Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said: “The Israeli criminality is unlimited, and this is what we are witnessing in the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon.”
Mikati’s statement came as part of his comments on the results of an investigation conducted by global media institutions, which held Israel accountable for targeting a group of journalists in southern Lebanon on Oct. 13, killing Reuters photographer Issam Abdallah, and wounding six others.
On Thursday morning, the outskirts of the towns of Hula, Markaba, Alma Al-Shaab, Tayr Harfa, Al-Dhahira, and Majdel Selm were also the target of Israeli artillery shelling.
And one person was taken to Marjayoun Governmental Hospital for treatment to injuries following Israeli bombing of Hamams Hill in Sarda. Other areas targeted included Wadi Saluki, Wadi Hamul, Ramyah, Bayt Lif, and the outskirts of the predominantly Christian border town of Rmeish.
The Israeli army reportedly fired six phosphorus shells toward Wadi Qatamoun while Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi was touring the south of the country.
During stops at two churches in Tyre, Al-Rahi said: “This solidarity visit, in light of the difficult circumstances, is a humanitarian duty in the face of the horrors of what is happening, and it is for the sake of peace, especially since this region is paying the price of war.
“This war is devastating, not only in Gaza, but it is a war outside all civilization and humanitarian laws.
“We came to declare that without peace, there is no life, and every human has a role, and we refuse to distort humanity’s role.
“We want to stand against hatred, malice, and hostility, as we are brothers. This is the true Lebanese culture and the true ecclesiastical spiritual culture.
“In our spiritual and Lebanese culture, we do not accept that the Palestinian cause be erased in a moment, but we strive for permanent peace.
“The two-state solution is required, and it is what achieves peace, and we will work to be peacemakers.
“In Lebanon, we stand firm in our unity, and we know that our enemy always aspires to annex lands from Lebanon, and this has been its ambition for a long time.
“We are witnessing a war of extermination, with no mercy, and we cannot watch the destruction of a people.
“It is a programmed, destructive war. There are voices worldwide, but they do not result in stances that alleviate people’s suffering. The Palestinian people have the right to decide their fate,” Al-Rahi added.
Officials from the Disaster Risk Management Unit in the Union of Tyre Municipalities said 20,000 newly displaced people from southern villages had been registered as of Wednesday and housed in five shelter centers in Tyre, adding that hundreds of other displaced people had not yet registered with the unit.
Unit managers noted they were being hampered in their work by a lack of available resources, especially as around 40 villages in the border area were unsafe for civilians.
Hezbollah continued to target Israeli military outposts on Thursday.
In a statement, the militant group said: “The vicinity of the Branit outpost was hit by a guided missile and many ambulances for the Israeli enemy were spotted moving in the area.”
Hezbollah added that it also targeted, “the site of Al-Marj, the Ramim forest, and the Mitat barracks with appropriate weapons, achieving direct hits, as well as the site of Ma’ayan Baruch with appropriate weapons, causing direct hits.”