Motorcyclist killed in Israeli strike near hospital in southern Lebanon

A charred motorbike reportedly hit by an Israeli airstrike is pictured on May 27, 2024 outside the Salah Ghandour Hospital in southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil near the border with Israel. (AFP)
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Updated 27 May 2024

Motorcyclist killed in Israeli strike near hospital in southern Lebanon

  • Health Ministry denounces ‘full-fledged crime’ as health care workers, patients injured in drone attack

BEIRUT: An Israeli strike on Monday outside a hospital in south Lebanon killed one person, the latest deadly raid in the country’s south.

Victim, Ali Wizani, on a motorcycle at the hospital entrance, was heading for medical tests.

Fifteen other people sustained varying injuries, including seven civilians and eight health care workers at Salah Ghandour Hospital in the city of Bint Jbeil.

The hospital security guard, Hassan Jouni, underwent surgery due to severe injuries.

An Israeli combat drone carried out Monday’s attack during a peak time when patients were arriving at the hospital at the start of the week.

For the first time since the hostilities began in the southern Lebanon border area, the Israeli army targeted the vicinity of a hospital on Monday morning.

The Israeli military has increased its efforts in recent days to apprehend individuals using cars or motorcycles on the roads, resulting in the fatalities of Hezbollah members and civilians.

The Lebanese Ministry of Health condemned the brutal Israeli shelling that targeted the hospital.

The hospital “is the only one still operating in this area from which residents have been displaced due to Israeli attacks,“ its director, Dr. Mohammed Sleiman, told Arab News.

“When the drone carried out its attack on the hospital entrance, there were people gathered to enter, which caused injuries.”

He said: “The hospital staff quickly evacuated the patients from the damaged front floors.

“We found that the shells used contained nails or iron fragments that left traces in the hospital building.

“The hospital’s role is humanitarian. The Israelis know the hospital very well, and we follow all required instructions during wars.”

Dr. Sleiman added: “In the July 2006 war, the hospital was subjected to direct shelling, and after today’s attack, we resumed work normally.

“We receive all patients in addition to the wounded from Israeli attacks. We currently have 17 patients besides the war-wounded.

“We receive non-urgent surgeries, and we have a medical team residing in the hospital since the attacks began.

Ambulances operate normally, and the medical staff comes to the hospital as usual. After the attack, doctors and nursing staff who were off-duty came to the hospital to help.

“We do not suffer from any shortages of medicines and equipment, as the Ministry of Health supplies us with what we need.”

The Health Ministry described the hospital attack as a “full-fledged war crime and a new episode in the series of repeated and flagrant violations committed by Israel against health care facilities and health care workers in Lebanon, violating all human rights laws, the Geneva conventions, and all international laws and norms that stipulate the protection and respect of health care workers and the provision of safety for them during armed conflicts.”

Hezbollah retaliated against the Israeli assault on the hospital by “targeting and destroying the newly installed spy equipment at the Miskaf Am site.”

Media outlets in Israel reported that “firefighting crews are working to extinguish a massive fire that broke out in the settlement of Kiryat Shmona after rockets were launched from Lebanon.”

Hezbollah targeted “a building used by enemy soldiers in the Margaliot settlement with appropriate weapons and achieved confirmed casualties.”

The group also “launched an intense fire attack on the Al-Malikiyah position with guided missiles and artillery shells, targeting its garrison, its equipment, and the positions of its soldiers.”

Hezbollah used “attack drones on targets inside the site and hit them accurately” in its retaliation.

The Israeli army said that “a Sky Rider drone fell inside Lebanese territory, and the incident is being investigated.”

The Israeli military said that it bombed a building where Hezbollah members were located in the Yaron border area on Sunday.

Additionally, the air force targeted Hezbollah members in Hula, hitting a weapons storage facility in Mays Al-Jabal and military infrastructure in Khiam.

The Israeli raid on the town of Yaron led to casualties.

The border villages have not been spared from continuous Israeli bombardment, which it is said, aims to destroy homes and properties and burn crops with internationally prohibited phosphorus bombs.

An Israeli army spokesman said, “The Israeli forces have increased their readiness for the war on Lebanon. Over the past weeks, the 146th Division and the 205th Reserve Armored Brigade conducted an exercise at the division and brigade level simulating ground maneuvers in Lebanon.”

The spokesperson said “the exercise simulated combat scenarios on the northern front, the rapid deployment of forces in the field, the role of division and brigade command centers, and the readiness of forces for attack.” 

Also on Monday, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati discussed the security situation in the south with Gen. Aroldo Lazaro, the commander of UNIFIL Forces.

The talks included preparations to submit the periodic report to the UN Security Council about the implementation of Resolution 1701 and the coordination between UNIFIL and the Lebanese Army.

Lebanon security source says Israeli strike kills 2 civilians

Updated 11 sec ago

Lebanon security source says Israeli strike kills 2 civilians

The security source said “two civilians were filling up water from a roadside spring” in the Deir Mimas area when they were killed in an “Israeli air strike“
A source close to Hezbollah said one of the men was a member of the Shiite Muslim movement

BEIRUT: A Lebanese security source said an Israeli air strike Saturday killed two civilians collecting water in south Lebanon, while the Israeli army said a raid in the area targeted two Hezbollah operatives.
The security source, requesting anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that “two civilians were filling up water from a roadside spring” in the Deir Mimas area when they were killed in an “Israeli air strike.”
A source close to Hezbollah, also requesting anonymity, said one of the men was a member of the Shiite Muslim movement and the father of a fighter who had been killed, while the second man was a member of Hezbollah ally the Amal movement.
The pair were “civilians, not fighters,” the source added.
The Israeli army said in a statement that “soldiers identified two Hezbollah terrorists preparing to launch projectiles toward Israeli territory in the area of Deir Mimas in southern Lebanon.”
“Shortly following the identification, the IAF (air force) struck the terrorists,” the statement added.
Hezbollah has traded almost daily fire with Israeli forces in support of ally Hamas since the Palestinian militant group’s October 7 attack on Israel triggered war in the Gaza Strip.
Lebanon’s National News Agency said an “enemy drone” killed two men on Saturday in the same area, identifying one of them as a local council member for the Amal movement in the nearby village of Kfar Kila.
It said they were collecting water from the spring “to take it for livestock in Kfar Kila.”
The Amal movement released a statement saying one of its members, born in 1964, was killed.
In Lebanon, the cross-border violence since October has killed more than 500 people, mostly fighters but also including more than 90 civilians, according to an AFP tally.
On the Israeli side, at least 29 people have been killed, the majority of them soldiers, according to the authorities.
The violence, largely restricted to the border area, has raised fears of all-out conflict between the foes, which last went to war in the summer of 2006.

Israel says Gaza camp strike targeted Hamas military chief Dief

Updated 13 min 45 sec ago

Israel says Gaza camp strike targeted Hamas military chief Dief

  • The army “struck Mohammed Deif and Rafa Salama, the commander of Hamas’ Khan Yunis Brigade”

JERUSALEM: The Israeli army said it targeted Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif on Saturday in a strike on Gaza, after the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry said dozens were killed in an Israeli attack on a displacement camp.
The army “struck Mohammed Deif and Rafa Salama, the commander of Hamas’ Khan Yunis Brigade, who are two of the masterminds of the October 7 massacre,” it said in a statement.
It came after the Gaza health ministry said 71 people were killed and 289 wounded in an Israeli strike on the Al-Mawasi camp for displaced people in southern Gaza.

Five inmates killed in attempted breakout from Somalian prison

Updated 13 July 2024

Five inmates killed in attempted breakout from Somalian prison

  • The firefight between the security forces and inmates broke out in the capital’s main prison
  • The five inmates who died were members of the Islamist group Al-Shabab who had been sentenced to death

MOGADISHU: Five inmates were killed in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday after gunfire broke out between security forces and some prisoners who had acquired weapons and were trying to escape, state media and residents said.
The firefight between the security forces and inmates broke out in the capital’s main prison, located in the city’s south near the port.
“Somalia’s prison forces concluded an operation in which prisoners fought inside the cell. Prisoners who tried to fight were shot dead,” Somalia National TV said in a post on their Facebook account.
The five inmates who died were members of the Islamist group Al-Shabab who had been sentenced to death, it added.
It did not say whether any prisoners had escaped during the firefight.
Two security personnel at the prison, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, told Reuters grenades and guns had been smuggled into the cell and the inmates had used them to start the firefight.
“We heard gunfire and...explosion inside the cell. The gunfire stopped after like 15 minutes. Government forces cordoned (off) the whole area,” said Abdullahi Aden, a local resident who lives near the prison.
A police spokesperson could not be reached for a comment.
Al Shabab has been fighting Somalia’s central government for nearly two decades and wants to establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

Israeli attack on southern Gaza kills 71 people and said to target head of Hamas' military wing

Updated 13 July 2024

Israeli attack on southern Gaza kills 71 people and said to target head of Hamas' military wing

  • Israeli attack on Saturday that hit tents housing displaced people

CAIRO: The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said an Israeli strike on Saturday killed 71 people at the Al-Mawasi camp for war displaced in the south of the Palestinian territory.
Al-Mawasi, near the city of Khan Yunis, was designated as one of the safe zones by Israel after it ordered civilians to evacuate other parts of the Gaza Strip.
The ministry condemned what it called a “brutal massacre by the occupation,” referring to Israel. It said 71 people were killed and at least 289 wounded, with additional victims yet to be found.
The Israeli military said it was looking into the reported bombing.
Fleets of ambulances rushed casualties to the Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis, the Kuwaiti field hospital in Rafah and other nearby clinics.
Gaza’s civil defense agency said ongoing shelling had prevented its teams from reaching victims in the tent city where tens of thousands have sought refuge.
“There are still many bodies of martyrs scattered in the streets, under the rubble and around the tents of the displaced that cannot be reached due to the heavy shelling of the occupation (Israeli army) that targeted places and tents in the in Al-Mawasi,” said civil defense spokesman Mahmud Bassal.
Al-Mawasi had been declared a safe zone by Israel as it pursues its military offensive in other parts of the Gaza Strip in response to the October 7 Hamas attacks.
The UN Palestinian relief agency, UNRWA, has estimated that up to 1.5 million people may now be in the whole Al-Mawasi district.
Suhaib Al-Hams, head of the Kuwait field hospital, called the attack “a real massacre.”
He said there were many “severe injuries including amputations and lacerations of internal organs.”
“A real disaster is happening now amid the collapse of the health care system,” he added.
The strike came on the 281st day of the war unleashed by the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel that resulted in 1,195 deaths, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
The militants also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom remain in Gaza, including 42 the military says are dead.
Israel’s military reprisal has killed at least 38,345 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to data from Gaza’s health ministry.

Iran president-elect says ready for ‘constructive dialogue’ with EU

Updated 13 July 2024

Iran president-elect says ready for ‘constructive dialogue’ with EU

Tehran: Iran’s president-elect Masoud Pezeshkian said he looks forward to improved relations with European nations, even though he accused them of reneging on commitments to mitigate the impact of US sanctions.
Pezeshkian on July 6 won a runoff election against ultraconservative Saeed Jalili.
The 69-year-old has called for “constructive relations” with Western countries to “get Iran out of its isolation,” and favors reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers.
Washington unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018, reimposing sanctions and leading Iran to gradually reduce commitment to its terms. The deal aimed to curb nuclear activity which Tehran maintains is for peaceful purposes.
Writing late Friday in the English-language Tehran Times newspaper, Pezeshkian said that after the US withdrawal from the 2015 deal, European countries committed to try to salvage it and mitigate the impact of US sanctions.
“European countries have reneged on all these commitments,” Pezeshkian wrote.
“Despite these missteps, I look forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with European countries to set our relations on the right path, based on principles of mutual respect and equal footing.”
European Union spokeswoman Nabila Massrali had earlier congratulated Pezeshkian on his election, adding that the 27-member bloc is “ready to engage with the new government in line with EU policy of critical engagement.”
Pezeshkian is a heart surgeon whose only previous government experience was as health minister about two decades ago.
The death of ultraconservative president Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash necessitated the election, which was not due until 2025.
Pezeshkian is considered a “reformist” in Iran, and was the only candidate from that camp allowed to stand in the election, for which all contenders were approved by Iran’s Guardian Council.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final say on all major policy issues in the country.
Under the hard-won 2015 deal Iran agreed to freeze its nuclear program in return for the lifting of the crippling international sanctions.
After the US withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions, Iran gradually began reneging on its own commitments to the agreement.
The parties to the 2015 deal with Iran saw it as the best way to stop the Islamic republic from building a nuclear bomb — a goal Tehran has always denied.
European Union members France and Germany were also party to the deal, along with Britain, China and Russia.
The European nations tried to salvage it, but Iran accused them of perceived inaction.