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Israeli Military Expands Strikes, Targets Places of Worship in Southern Lebanon

In a recent development, the Israeli military has expanded its attacks in southern Lebanon, targeting places of worship for the first time in its conflict with Hezbollah.

Over the past 100 days, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had previously struck forests, residential areas, and roads in the border region. However, on Wednesday, an Israeli drone attacked the National Evangelical Church in Alma Al-Shaab, causing significant damage to the home of the church’s cleric, Pastor Rabie Talib.

israeli

The IDF’s actions also included firing smoke shells at Syrian workers in a grape orchard in the Wazzani plain, though no casualties were reported. According to a security source in the south, the intensity of the Israeli Army’s bombing in the Wadi Al-Saluki area and the subsequent targeting of towns like Hula and Mays Al-Jabal is unprecedented.

The IDF perceives any activity in the region as linked to Hezbollah, aiming to disrupt supply routes to the party, particularly toward Hula and Mays Al-Jabal, ultimately isolating and directly targeting these towns.

The preemptive Israeli bombing targeted various locations along the border area, including Kafr Shuba Heights, Kafr Kila, Taybeh, Markba, Wadi Al-Saluki, Aita al-Shaab, Naqoura outskirts, Ramia-Marwahin area, and the outskirts of al-Dhahira, Yarin, Jebin, and Tair Harfa.

Videos depict extensive damage to houses, roads, and infrastructure, forcing residents to seek refuge in their homes amid the ongoing attacks. A tense calm prevails over western and central sectors, with continued Israeli reconnaissance aircraft flying over border villages.

Hezbollah responded by targeting an Israeli soldier gathering near the Raheb site and using Burkan missiles to strike the vicinity of Ruwaisat Al-Alam in the Kfar Shuba Heights. In retaliation, Israeli artillery bombed the outskirts of Rashaya Al-Fakhar and Al-Habaria.

Lebanon’s caretaker health minister, Firas Al-Abiad, visited the southern region to inspect hospitals and health centers, emphasizing the need to support healthcare services despite limited resources. The government has approved $98 million to aid government hospitals treating the injured, some of which have directly faced attacks.

Amidst the conflict, displaced families in southern areas are struggling to pay high rents for furnished apartments, prompting concerns about their living conditions. Hezbollah had previously urged southerners to host displaced individuals, but some homeowners are now demanding rent in dollars.

Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces party, emphasized the caretaker government’s responsibility to eliminate the specter of war in Lebanon and address issues threatening citizens’ security, livelihoods, and the country’s future.

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