A left-wing activist lies on the ground next to a fake blood stain during an anti-government demonstration in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, on June 22, 2024. (Credit: Jack Guez/AFP)

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Caretaker transport minister denies presence of Hezbollah missiles, explosives at Beirut airport: Gaza war, day 261

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Tens of thousands of Israeli demonstrators call for early elections and the return of hostages held in Gaza.

Kuwait has urged its citizens to leave Lebanon "as soon as possible."

Two people were killed, including a Jamaa Islamiya fighter, in an Israeli strike in the Bekaa yesterday.

Israel also fired two missiles at the eastern entrance to Saida yesterday afternoon.

19:17 heure de Beyrouth

Thank you for following our live coverage of the war between Hamas and Israel.

We will continue our coverage of the conflict tomorrow morning.

18:35 heure de Beyrouth

"Yesterday has been one of the deadliest day since October w/ at least 100 Palestinians reportedly killed. The hostages are still held captive. The risk of a full-blown conflict involving Hezbollah is real. A spill over in Lebanon would seriously impact the region & beyond," Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, wrote today on X in the first of a three-part post.

He added that "in the West Bank, economic collapse is imminent and violence is escalating. Blatant disregard for the International Court of Justice and UN Security Council Resolution 2735. No improvement in access and delivery of humanitarian aid".

Borrel also deplored the disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks reported by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

18:28 heure de Beyrouth

“A British company, associated with the British government, recently did an inspection of the [Beirut] airport. If The Telegraph wanted official data about the state of the airport, they should have gone back to their government instead of quoting anonymous employees," Lebanon's caretaker transport minister Ali Hamieh says.

18:16 heure de Beyrouth

⚡ Lebanon's caretaker Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamieh has called for an "open to all" inspection tour of the Beirut international airport site tomorrow at 10 a.m.

The ministers call came at a press conference to respond to allegations in an article published this weekend by the British daily The Telegraph, which asserts that Hezbollah is stockpiling missiles and explosives at the Beirut airport.

18:08 heure de Beyrouth

New update on the situation in south Lebanon:

* Hezbollah claims it targeted the Israeli Samaka site in the disputed Kfar Shuba hills (opposite the Lebanese town of the same name in the Hasbaya district).

17:17 heure de Beyrouth

Here's an update on the security situation in southern Lebanon:

* Residents report that artillery fire targeted the locality of Dhaira (Sour) with a number of shells.

* Israeli artillery fire with phosphorus shells triggered several fires in the locality of Kfar Kila in the Marjayoun district. Machine-gun fire from positions opposite the locality also targeted some of its neighborhoods, according to residents.

* Israeli artillery targeted the town of Ramaya (Bint Jbeil), residents report.

17:17 heure de Beyrouth

Here's an update on the security situation in southern Lebanon:

* Residents report that artillery fire targeted the locality of Dhaira (Sour) with a number of shells.

* Israeli artillery fire with phosphorus shells triggered several fires in the locality of Kfar Kila in the Marjayoun district. Machine-gun fire from positions opposite the locality also targeted some of its neighborhoods, according to residents.

* Israeli artillery targeted the town of Ramaya (Bint Jbeil), residents report.

17:15 heure de Beyrouth

Al-Jazeera is reporting "more information on the Israeli military attack on the main UNRWA building in Gaza City."

Citing the Wafa news agency, the media outlet reports that Israeli shelling hit the eastern entrance to the building, located in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood, killing five people, "some of whom were dismembered," and it says that seven wounded people, including women and children, were taken to the Arab al-Ahli hospital for treatment.

16:53 heure de Beyrouth

Lebanon's caretaker Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamieh is expected to hold a press conference today at 6 p.m. at Beirut's international airport.

"He will address the allegations published by The Telegraph today regarding Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport, refuting various lies propagated by the newspaper," a statement sent by Hezbollah to L'Orient Today read.

16:36 heure de Beyrouth

British daily The Telegraph's claim that Hezbollah is stockpiling missiles and explosives at Beirut international airport is "totally false" and "fabricated," two high-placed sources within Lebanon have told L'Orient-Le Jour.

According to one of the sources, caretaker Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamieh is due to issue a public statement on the claims relayed by the daily. The source also pointed out that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has not issued any warning about the potential presence of missiles and explosives on the Beirut airport site.

15:05 heure de Beyrouth

Israeli tanks advanced to the edge of the Mawasi displaced persons' camp in the northwest of the southern Gaza city of Rafah today during fierce fighting with Hamas-led fighters, residents said, according to a report published by Reuters.

Images of two Israeli tanks stationed on a hilltop overlooking the coastal area went viral on social media, but the news agency could not independently verify them.

"The fighting with the resistance has been intense. The occupation forces are overlooking the Mawasi area now, which forced families there to head for Khan Younis," said one resident, who asked not to be named, on a chat app. ➡️ More details here.

14:21 heure de Beyrouth

Gaza casualty toll update: At least 37,598 Palestinians have been killed and 86,032 others injured in Israel's military offensive in Gaza since Oct. 7, the Gaza health ministry says, Reuters reports.

14:07 heure de Beyrouth

Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is headed to Washington today for "critical" talks on the Gaza war and surging cross-border tensions with Lebanon's Hezbollah movement. ➡️ More details here.

13:54 heure de Beyrouth

Here's the latest on the situation in south Lebanon:

* Hezbollah has launched a new air attack on northern Israel using a squadron of drones. The party said the attack is in response to "the assassination carried out by Israel in the town of Khiara in the Bekaa [yesterday], which resulted in the death" of a Jamaa Islamiyeh official. Hezbollah's attack targeted the Israeli unit's new 91 headquarters in Ayelet Hashahar [located 10 km from the Lebanese border], northeast of Safed. "The drones hit positions where officers and soldiers were," the party said, reporting injuries and fatalities.

13:47 heure de Beyrouth

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the "dispute" with the United States over delayed arms deliveries will be "resolved in the near future." 

"About four months ago, there was a considerable drop in arms deliveries to Israel from the United States. We've had all kinds of explanations, but the situation hasn't changed. In light of what I've heard over the last few days, I hope and believe that this issue will be resolved in the near future," he said at a meeting with ministers from his government. ➡️ More details here.

13:07 heure de Beyrouth

A Palestinian journalist was killed by an Israeli bombardment on Thursday, several media outlets reported, including The New Arab, citing the Hamas channel al-Aqsa. Salim al-Charafa worked as a reporter and presenter for the channel, which did not release further details about the cause or location of his death, Hamas' Gaza media office reported.

The latter claims that 152 media professionals have been killed in the Gaza war since Oct. 7.

12:48 heure de Beyrouth

New York City prosecutors have dropped all charges against most of the students and activists who were arrested by police for occupying a Columbia University building to protest the institution's investment in companies profiting from Israel's war on Gaza, Middle East Eye reports.

Of the 46 people arrested, 31 were dismissed. "The Manhattan District Attorney's Office said it was dropping charges against the 31 people, citing 'prosecutorial discretion and lack of evidence,'" says Middle East Eye.

"Prosecutors indicated that the remaining 14 protesters would also have their charges dropped, provided they were not arrested within the next six months The defendants rejected this offer, however, and both sides are due back in court on July 25."

12:46 heure de Beyrouth

Thousands of fighters from Iranian-backed groups are ready to head to Lebanon to join Hezbollah in its war against Israel if the simmering conflict escalates into a full-scale war, according to officials from Iranian-backed factions and analysts contacted by the Associated Press.

Groups claiming to be part of the "axis of resistance" also say they will stop fighting when Israel ends its offensive in Gaza against their ally Hamas.

12:28 heure de Beyrouth

Photo released by the Hezbollah press office

"The Israeli and American enemies, are [despite all their means] unable to counter the strategies launched by the resistance, which reach their targets and hit their positions," Hezbollah MP Hassan Ezzedine said, speaking from  Kfour in the Nabatieh district this morning.

Speaking at a ceremony held in memory of a slain Hezbollah member, the MP added that "escalation of the war [on the border between southern Lebanon and northern Israel] could accelerate the demise of the Zionist entity."

12:05 heure de Beyrouth

An Israeli attack on a house in the Sabra district of Gaza City has killed at least eight people and wounded dozens more, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reports.

Another attack, near a power station in the Nuseirat area of central Gaza, killed two more people and wounded others, again according to Wafa.

12:04 heure de Beyrouth

Ans here's what's been happening this morning in south Lebanon:

* A precarious calm prevailed this morning in border towns and villages, with no incidents reported so far apart from a Hezbollah attack on northern Israel.

* After 8 a.m., Hezbollah announced it had launched an airstrike, using drones, targeting the headquarters of the Israeli Sahl battalion at the Beit Hilal barracks. The operation was launched in retaliation for "the assassination perpetrated by the Israeli enemy in the locality of Khiam" (Marjayoun). "The attack directly hit the positions of officers and soldiers, causing casualties," the party added.

12:00 heure de Beyrouth

Also in south Lebanon last night:

* After 8 p.m., rescue workers from the al-Rissala Scouts Association announced in a statement that they had taken part in fire-fighting operations following Israeli phosphorus shell fire on the Houla road (Marjayoun).

* After 9:30 p.m., Israeli artillery targeted the south of Khiam ( Marjayoun), a security source reported.

* After 10 p.m., Hezbollah said that "in response to Israeli attacks on southern villages and safe houses, particularly in Yaroun and Ramaya (both in Bint Jbeil), as well as Kfar Kila (Marjayoun)," its fighters targeted buildings used by Israeli soldiers in the Israeli town of Metula, opposite Khiam.

* At 11 p.m., Israeli artillery fired flares into the airspace off the coast of Naqoura (Sour). Two artillery shells also fell on the western side of the town of Deir Mimas (Marjayoun), along the Litani River.

11:57 heure de Beyrouth

Recap on the security situation on the Lebanon-Israel border overnight, according to our correspondent Muntasser Abdallah, citing security sources:

* After 8 p.m., Israeli artillery fire targeted Kfar Hamam and the outskirts of Rachaya al-Foukhar (both in the Hasbaya district). The bombardment lasted half an hour without interruption, with more than 10 shells falling close to houses.

* Shortly after 8 p.m., Israeli aircraft targeted Kfar Kila (Marjayoun).

* After 9:30 p.m., Israeli fighter jets launched a second airstrike with two missiles on the Hura area on the outskirts of Kfar Kila, causing fires. Teams of Civil Defense firefighters from the al-Rissala Scout Association, affiliated with the Amal Movement, were dispatched to the scene.

11:31 heure de Beyrouth

On the diplomatic front, French President Emmanuel Macron will receive King Abdullah II of Jordan for lunch tomorrow to discuss the situation in Gaza and the "extreme urgency" to achieve a cease-fire, the French presidency announced in a press release yesterday.

"The two heads of state will discuss the extreme urgency of concluding, without further delay, the agreement on a cease-fire in Gaza, which will finally guarantee the protection of all civilians and the massive inflow of emergency aid", the statement said.

11:30 heure de Beyrouth

Meanwhile, a merchant ship was damaged by a drone attack off the coast of Yemen, where Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels appear to be stepping up their maritime attacks, the UK Maritime Safety Agency (UKMTO) announced this morning, adding that the crew is "safe and sound."

The boat was able to continue on its way to the next port on its route, the agency said on X.

The Houthis say their attacks are in support of Palestinians amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

11:28 heure de Beyrouth

In Gaza, this morning AFP is reporting new Israeli bombardments in several sectors of the enclave, where at least 37,551 Palestinians have been killed since the war started on Oct. 7.

Yesterday evening, tens of thousands of Israeli demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv, calling for early elections and the return of hostages held in Gaza. Many of the demonstrators held up placards reading "Minister of Crime" and"Stop the War."

11:25 heure de Beyrouth


Today marks the 261st day of the war in the Gaza Strip. It is also the 260th day since a front was opened in southern Lebanon between Hezbollah and the Israeli army.

Throughout the day, we'll bring you live updates on the conflict and its repercussions across the region.

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