Three killed in Israeli strike on home in Bint Jbeil, Lebanon

Hezbollah fighter Ali Bazzi was killed in his home with two civilians: his brother and sister-in-law.

Ahmad Bazzi, right, mourns as Hezbollah fighters carry the coffin of one of his sons, in Bint Jbeil. AP
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Three people were killed and one wounded in an Israeli strike on their homes overnight on Wednesday in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil.

One of the people killed was Hezbollah militant Ali Ahmed Bazzi, the Iran-backed group confirmed on Wednesday morning.

Bazzi's brother Ibrahim and Ibrahim’s wife Shorouk Hammoud were also killed in the strike, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.

“They were in their homes,” a senior medic who works with the Civil Defence in south Lebanon told The National.

He said there were no signs of fighting near by before the strike.

“It seems [Ali Bazzi] was targeted,” he said.

Medics and ambulance teams searched under the rubble for hours before finding the bodies, state media said.

The fighter's brother Ibrahim Bazzi had recently moved to Lebanon from Australia, where he had lived for years, the report said. His plan was to return to Australia with his wife.

Shorouk Hammoud was recovered first, the Civil Defence medic told The National.

“When they found her she was alive, but she died shortly after,” he said.

Cross-border battles between Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah group have intensified in recent days. Although largely confined to border areas on either side, Israel has occasionally struck deeper into south Lebanon.

The medic confirmed that Israeli bombardment in south Lebanon had become more severe over the past week, both in terms of territorial depth and ferocity.

Hezbollah, with allied armed groups, first initiated its cross-border conflict with Israel when it fired rockets at the occupied Shebaa Farms on October 8, seeking to distract Israel from its assault on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

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Since then, Israel has gradually increased its attacks on Lebanon, despite Hezbollah’s show of relative restraint as the group continues to mostly target military bases and installations.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah claimed the group had been successful in diverting one third of Israel’s military focus to the border with Lebanon.

But Israel has responded forcefully in south Lebanon, routinely escalating its strikes on the region. Diplomatic allies of Israel, including the United States and France, have tried to negotiate a deal that would lead to Hezbollah retreating north of the Litani River in exchange for several concessions – a proposal Hezbollah rejected.

In recent weeks, Israel has increased its war rhetoric, claiming that Hezbollah's presence along its northern border would not be tolerated.

Mr Nasrallah previously said that if Israel targets civilians, his group would hit back with equal force.

Since the beginning of the border conflict on October 8, more than 150 people have been killed on the Lebanese side – the vast majority of them Hezbollah fighters and allied militants, but also at least 19 civilians.

In Israel, the death toll is nine soldiers and four civilians, although the number could be higher because the Israeli military does not typically disclose updated casualty figures.

Updated: December 28, 2023, 3:57 AM