Hezbollah, a Lebanese militia group, has fired dozens of rockets at northern Israel, saying it’s a retaliation for the alleged Israeli killing of a top Hamas leader in Lebanon.
Driving the News: The rocket attack follows a declaration by Hezbollah leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, that his group would retaliate for the killing of Saleh Arouri, Hamas’s deputy political leader, in Beirut.
* Nasrallah expressed that if Hezbollah did not strike back, all of Lebanon would be at risk of Israeli attacks.
* Hezbollah claims to have launched 62 rockets towards an Israeli air surveillance base on Mount Meron, with direct hits. Two army posts near the border were also reportedly targeted.
Conflicting Reports: While Hezbollah claimed direct hits on the Israeli base, the Israeli military only confirmed that 40 rockets were fired towards Meron and a base was targeted, with no confirmation of strikes.
* Israel retaliated by attacking the Hezbollah cell responsible for launching the rockets.
Statement from Gaza and the International Community: Gaza’s Health Ministry reports 122 Palestinian deaths in 24 hours, raising the total fatality number to 22,722 since the war’s beginning.
* It is reported that two-thirds of those killed have been women and children.
* Despite international criticism over the rising civilian death toll, the U.S. has urged Israel to minimize harm to civilians while continuing to provide munitions and protecting its close ally from international condemnation.
U.S. Diplomatic Efforts: U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken has started a Middle East tour aiming to reduce regional tensions.
* He began the tour in Turkey, seeking support for the post-war reconstruction of Gaza, and will subsequently visit Greece, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the West Bank, and Egypt.
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