BEIRUT: The mayor of a Lebanese village died instantly when he was struck by an Israeli shell on Monday as Israel and Hezbollah kept up hostilities ignited by the war in Gaza.
Hussein Mansour was killed outside his home in the village of Taybeh, a few kilometers from the border with Israel, a relative, Mohamed Mansour, said in media reports.
The shell that struck him did not explode, the National News Agency said.
Lebanon on Monday staged a nationwide strike in support of Gaza, demanding an immediate ceasefire and a halt to the two-month Israeli assault on the enclave.
In a statement, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced the closure of all public administration offices, public institutions, and municipalities.
He said the action was in response to global support for Gaza, and in solidarity with the Palestinian people and residents of Lebanese border villages.
Beirut’s streets were noticeably quieter as schools, universities, banks, and public and private administrations closed.
Pharmacies stopped working for one hour.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs closed its departments in Lebanon and Lebanese missions abroad.
The ministry called on the world to “take a stand against the systematic genocide being committed against the resilient Palestinian people under the Israeli siege and occupation in Gaza and the West Bank.”
It highlighted “daily attacks by the Israeli army in the southern Lebanese border areas, which have resulted in the loss of lives and injuries, including soldiers, journalists, paramedics, women, and children.”
The Ministry of Culture closed all historical sites.
Minister Wissam Mortada said: “We wanted the strike to be a thorn that pricks the conscience of the world complicit with the machinery of destruction and killing.”
Education Minister Abbas Halabi asked teachers to allocate one class on Tuesday to explain the reasons for the closure on Monday, and emphasize the “necessity of stopping the attacks on the occupied Palestinian territories and southern Lebanon, protecting civilians, especially women and children.”
He called on people to “raise their voices against the massacres committed against the innocent, demolishing their homes, hospitals, schools, and places of worship over their heads, and displacing them in the open, all under the eyes of the whole world.”
Violence escalated at Lebanon’s border with Israel on Sunday, with Hezbollah launching explosive drones and missiles at Israeli positions, and Israeli airstrikes rocking several towns and villages in south Lebanon.
On Monday afternoon, an Israeli drone attack on the border town of Al-Taybeh killed a man in his 80s sitting on the balcony of his home.
Also on Monday, Defense Minister Maurice Sleem received a call from his Dutch counterpart Kajsa Ollongren.
According to Sleem’s office, the Dutch minister emphasized “the need to reduce escalation in the region and the international community’s future aspiration to achieve a two-state solution.”
The role of UNIFIL forces in southern Lebanon was reviewed during the call.
Sleem praised the cooperation and coordination between the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL, and its close relationship with the local community.
“Peace and stability cannot be achieved without a just and comprehensive peace and adherence to the provisions of the relevant international resolutions,” he said.
On Monday, an Israeli warplane attacked the outskirts of Jabal Al-Rayhan in the Jezzine region with a missile.
Five interceptor missiles launched by the Israelis exploded above Hula, Mays Al-Jabal, and Aitaroun.
Hezbollah’s Al-Manar channel said that an Israeli tank fired several shells toward Lebanese territorial waters opposite Ras Naqoura.
An Israeli drone also targeted the outskirts of the town of Yaron with three missiles.
Israeli shelling struck the center of the town of Kafr Hamam and damaged a house.
The outskirts of Rashaya Al-Fakhoura and Al-Fardis were also hit by at least 12 Israeli artillery rounds.
The Israeli army bombed sites in southern Lebanon after the launch of rockets, and also targeted the outskirts of Naqoura, Alma Shaab, and Jabal Al-Labouneh in the western sector.
The army targeted the Marjayoun Plain with two shells, Al-Awaida Hill with artillery shells, and bombed the outskirts of the towns of Kafr Kila and Deir Mimas.
Hezbollah said that it struck an Israeli soldiers’ gathering near Summaka in the Shebaa Farms with six rockets launched from Al-Khribet.
It also also targeted the Israeli Brannit barracks with artillery.
On Monday, Hezbollah mourned two of its members, but did not specify where they were killed. Media reports said that both were killed in Syria.