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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Latest escalation in Gaza conflict results in the death of top Hezbollah commander in Israeli strike


BEIRUT – A recent Israeli airstrike in southern Lebanon has killed ​a top Hezbollah​ commander, ​escalating tensions along the ‍border and⁤ raising fears of ​another​ conflict⁣ in the Middle East.⁤ The strike targeted an SUV and killed a​ commander in a secretive Hezbollah force that ⁣operates along the border, according to a ‌Lebanese security ​official.

Hezbollah identified the slain‍ fighter as Wissam al-Tawil, the most senior militant in the armed group killed since the ‌recent outbreak of violence. The ​strike comes in the wake of ​escalating ‍tensions between ⁤Israel and Hezbollah, which intensified⁢ after an Israeli strike ​killed a senior Hamas leader in Beirut last ⁤week.

U.S.⁤ Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is back in the region⁢ this week, appears to be trying‍ to head off a wider conflict.⁤ Meanwhile, fighting continued in northern Gaza, ‌even after Israel said it has largely wrapped up major operations there to now focus​ on the central⁤ region and the southern city of Khan Younis, where ⁣thousands ⁤more Palestinians fled.

Israeli officials say the fighting will continue⁤ for ​many‍ more‌ months‌ as the⁤ army seeks to dismantle Hamas and return scores of ⁢hostages taken⁤ during the ‌militants’ Oct. ⁢7‌ attack.​ The offensive has⁣ already killed over 23,000 Palestinians, devastated ⁣vast swaths of the Gaza⁣ Strip, displaced nearly 85% of its ⁤population of⁤ 2.3 million and left a quarter of its residents⁣ facing⁤ starvation.

Medics, patients and ⁣displaced people fled from the main hospital in central Gaza as the fighting drew closer, witnesses ​said Monday. Losing the facility would be another major blow to a health system shattered by three months of war.

Doctors Without ​Borders and other aid ​groups withdrew from Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in ‍Deir al-Balah ‍in recent days, saying ⁢it was too dangerous. That spread⁤ panic among people sheltering there, causing many‌ to join the hundreds​ of‍ thousands who have fled to the south of the besieged territory.

Tens ‌of⁢ thousands of people‍ have sought shelter in Gaza’s ⁤hospitals, which are struggling to⁣ treat dozens of people wounded each‌ day in Israeli‌ strikes. Only 13⁤ of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are even partially functioning, ‌according to the⁤ U.N. humanitarian office.

Omar al-Darawi, an⁤ employee at the‌ Al-Aqsa hospital, said ‌the ‌facility has been struck multiple times in recent days. He said thousands of ‍people​ left after the aid groups‌ pulled out, while patients have been concentrated on one ⁤floor‍ to be treated by the remaining doctors.

“We have large numbers ‌of wounded who can’t move” he said. “They​ need special care, which is ​unavailable.”

More dead⁤ and ⁤wounded arrive each day as Israeli forces advance in central Gaza,​ backed⁣ by heavy airstrikes. Gaza’s⁤ Health Ministry said Monday that 249 Palestinians have been killed and 510 others were wounded across the territory in the past 24 hours.

World Health Organization staff who‍ visited Sunday saw “sickening scenes of people of all ages​ being treated on ⁣blood-streaked floors and in chaotic corridors,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the U.N. agency, said in a statement. “The bloodbath in⁤ Gaza must end.”

Entire neighborhoods ‍have been demolished, and most of the population has fled. Tens of thousands who‌ remain face severe shortages of food and water. The⁣ WHO‍ said late Sunday ‍it⁢ has been ⁣unable to deliver supplies to northern Gaza ⁤in 12 days because ​of heavy bombardment and ‍the ‍inability to guarantee ‍safe passage with the Israeli military.

Jabaliya, which was built for Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war surrounding ⁢Israel’s creation and is now a dense, built-up neighborhood,⁢ has seen weeks⁢ of heavy fighting.

More than 23,000 ⁤Palestinians have been ​killed, about two-thirds of them ⁢women and⁤ children, and more than 58,000 wounded, since the war began, according ⁤to the Health Ministry​ in Hamas-run Gaza. The death toll does not distinguish between​ combatants and ‍civilians.

Israel blames Hamas for civilian casualties ⁤because the⁤ group operates in populated residential areas,⁢ but ⁣the military almost⁤ never comments on⁤ the intended target in strikes that kill ⁤large numbers of civilians. The military says it has killed some 8,000 militants, without providing ​evidence, and says 176 of ⁤its ​own soldiers have been killed⁤ in the offensive.

Blinken, who was meeting leaders in the United Arab⁢ Emirates and Saudi ⁢Arabia on⁢ Monday after talks in Jordan and ‍Qatar, once again spoke of the need for Israel to adjust its military operations to ‍minimize ⁣harm to civilians and allow more aid into the⁣ territory.

But his​ main ‍focus appeared to be preventing the war from spreading.

A Hezbollah rocket barrage hit a sensitive ‌air traffic‌ base in northern Israel on Saturday in one of the ⁣biggest attacks in three months⁣ of fighting. The militant group said it was an “initial response” to the ‍killing‍ of Hamas’ deputy ‍political​ leader Saleh​ Arouri ​in Beirut last week.

So far, both sides have sought ⁣to limit the fighting.

Hezbollah appears wary of risking an all-out⁢ war that would bring massive destruction‍ to Lebanon. Israeli ⁤leaders​ say‍ their patience ⁤is wearing thin and that if ⁢the tensions cannot be resolved through diplomacy, they are prepared‍ to go to ⁢war.⁣ They have expressed particular concern about the Radwan Force, the elite ⁣Hezbollah unit in which al-Tawil was a commander, which operates along ⁢the⁢ border.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,⁣ visiting⁣ troops near ‍the ⁣border, vowed to “do everything” ⁣possible to return “security​ to the north.”

“We prefer that this be done without a wider campaign, but that ⁢won’t stop us,” he said.

Truth Media Network
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  1. Good punctuation and grammar, Disagree:
    This latest escalation in the Gaza conflict is devastating. The death of a top Hezbollah commander in the Israeli strike only fuels the cycle of violence and hatred. It’s time for both sides to prioritize dialogue and peace over retaliation.

  2. Disagree: This relentless cycle of violence will never end until both sides take responsibility for their actions and engage in meaningful dialogue. The death of a top Hezbollah commander only deepens the divide and escalates tensions further. #EnoughIsEnough


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