News

Israeli bombardment kills four civilians: Lebanon state media

By AFP

November 21, 2023 07:06 PM


 

Israeli bombardment of south Lebanon on Tuesday killed four civilians, two of them journalists, official media said, as Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen television said it employed the two reporters.

The Israel-Lebanon border has seen daily exchanges of fire, mainly between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, raising fears of a broader conflagration.

The state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported "the deaths of three citizens -- two journalists and another civilian -- in enemy bombing" of the Tair Harfa area.

Al-Mayadeen said its correspondent Farah Omar and cameraman Rabih Maamari were killed.

The Israeli military said it was "looking into the details" of the incident.

Elsewhere in south Lebanon, the NNA said "enemy aircraft raided inhabited houses in Kfar Kila, leading to the death of citizen Laiqa Sarhan, 80, and the wounding of her granddaughter," whom it identified as a Syrian national.

A source in the area's Marjayoun hospital, who requested anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media, said the seven-year-old granddaughter was in a serious condition.

Al-Mayadeen director Ghassan bin Jiddo said the third civilian killed with the two journalists was a "contributor" to the channel.

"It was a direct attack, it was not by chance," Bin Jiddo said in an interview on the channel, noting it came after an Israeli government decision this month to block access to the website of Al-Mayadeen, known for its pro-Iran stance.

 

- 'No limit' -

 

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati expressed his "strong condemnation of the Israeli attack" on the journalists, a statement said.

"This attack proves once more that Israeli crimes know no limit and that (Israel's) aim is to silence the media who expose its crimes and its attacks," Mikati was quoted as saying in the statement.

Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, said in a statement that the attack and others on civilians in Lebanon "will not pass without a response".

The powerful Iran-backed militant group has stepped up its attacks against Israel in recent days.

Since the cross-border exchanges began, at least 95 people have been killed on the Lebanese side, according to an AFP tally, most of them Hezbollah combatants but including at least 14 civilians, three of them journalists.

On the Israeli side, six soldiers and three civilians have been killed, according to Israeli authorities.

On October 13, Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah was killed and six other journalists from AFP, Al Jazeera and Reuters wounded while covering the cross-border fire.

Lebanese authorities have accused Israel of being responsible. The Israeli army has said it is looking into the circumstances.

The deadly exchanges began after October 7, when Gaza-based Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostage, according to Israeli officials.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, and its subsequent military campaign has killed more than 13,300 people in Gaza, according to authorities in the Hamas-run territory.

US envoy Amos Hochstein, who visited Lebanon earlier this month, was in Israel on Monday to help prevent full-blown war from breaking out on the Israel-Lebanon border, Washington said.

"We don't want to see this war escalate... We certainly don't believe it's in anybody's interest -- certainly not the Israeli people's interest -- to have a second front there in the north," US national security spokesman John Kirby said Monday.


AFP


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