Lebanese village mayor killed by Israeli shell

Hussein Ali Mansour died after being hit by artillery round, which did not explode, Iran-backed Hezbollah said

A man checks the damage after an Israeli strike in the southern Lebanese border village of Mais Al Jabal on December 6. AFP
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An Israeli strike on the southern Lebanese village of Taybeh killed its mayor on Monday evening, Lebanon's National News Agency reported, making him the latest civilian casualty of the frontier war between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia.

An artillery shell fell directly on the 75-year-old mayor of Taybeh, Hussein Ali Mansour, as he sat on the balcony of a residence along with seven other people, Hezbollah said. The shell did not explode, but Mr Mansour was killed by its impact.

“Divine providence prevented the shell from exploding and a massacre from occurring,” Hezbollah said.

Hezbollah has been embroiled in the border conflict with Israel since October 8 in support of its ally Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.

The fighting continues to intensify by the day as both sides wage a war of deterrence, Hezbollah in an attempt to distract Israel from the war in Gaza, and Israel in an attempt to prevent the militia from exerting influence on the outcome of the conflict.

The conflict has not erupted into full-scale war, although daily confrontations threaten to tip the scale.

Tens of thousands of residents have been displaced on both sides of the border.

In Lebanon, at least 120 people have been killed since October 8 – most of them Hezbollah fighters, and over a dozen civilians. Israel's military says six soldiers and four civilians have been killed, although it does not typically release immediate numbers.

Hezbollah has largely fired at Israeli military sites, indicating it does not seek a broader war. Israel has meanwhile increased its rhetoric, hinting that a war with Lebanon is inevitable.

Israel would have to “to impose a new reality” on Lebanon after the end of its operations in Gaza, senior Israeli official Tzachi Hanegbi said on Sunday.

Israel “can no longer accept [Hezbollah's] Radwan force sitting on the border,” said Mr Hanegbi, who is in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet, in an interview with Israel's Channel 12 news.

“The situation in the north must be changed. And it will change. If Hezbollah agrees to change things via diplomacy, very good. But I don't believe it will,” he added.

Mr Hanegbi's comments followed Mr Netanyahu's threat last week that the Israeli army would “turn Beirut and southern Lebanon … into Gaza and Khan Younis”.

Updated: December 12, 2023, 7:28 AM