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Lebanon in April 2024

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2-4-2024

  1. US Proposal for Lebanon Peace Deal on Hold Pending Gaza Cease Fire
    Proposals by U.S. Envoy Amos Hochstein for a diplomatic solution to Lebanon’s internal political stalemate and to the Israel-Hizballah border conflict are on hold, awaiting potential outcomes of a “Gaza ceasefire.” Local issues, especially municipal elections, may see resolution or delay, while the government refrains from discussion, leaving it to parliament. Sources who spoke to the US Embassy suggested that once a Gaza ceasefire is declared, US envoy Amos Hochstein will continue mediation between Lebanon and Israel to gradually implement Resolution 1701, enhancing the army and supporting international forces to reestablish border tranquility
  2. Israeli Moves Portend Escalation in Lebanon
    Writer Mohammed Aloush in “Al-Diyar” reported mounting conviction within Lebanese resistance circles that significant Israeli escalation looms closer, possibly following a military operation in Rafah. Sources suggested this will Not necessarily entail full-scale war, but rather a gradual increase in tension between April and May, as Israel intensifies Syrian strikes targeting arms depots, airports, and specific resistance zones. Hizballah reportedly replenished rocket stocks after intensified Israeli strikes in Qusair and Qalamoun. Israel reportedly aims to uncover Hizballah’s long-range missile reserves. Israeli plans to evacuate northern residents to Jerusalem shelters indicate the closeness to potential escalation, likely exposing northern Israel to resistance rockets from borders to Haifa.
  3. Hezbollah Mourns Fallen Iranian Commanders, Vows Resistance
    Hezbollah mourns Iranian Revolutionary Guard leaders killed in rocket strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus. Notable among the deceased is General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, honored for supporting Lebanon’s resistance movement. Hezbollah denounces Israel’s attack as a crime and vows to continue resisting. Zahedi’s sacrifice strengthens the resolve against Israel’s aggression, reinforcing the commitment to defending the oppressed. Hezbollah warns Israel that targeting leaders won’t halt resistance. The group promises retaliation against Israel’s actions.

3-4-2024

  1. Fuel Prices Soar in Lebanon with Expectations of Further Increases
    In Lebanon, gasoline prices have witnessed a significant hike today, with expectations for an upward trend in the coming days due to rising global oil prices and recent military developments in the region. The price of 95 and 98 octane gasoline increased by 28,000 Lebanese pounds, while diesel and gas saw reductions. This spike is linked to the international oil market and security concerns in the Red Sea and Russian oil facilities, alongside OPEC’s production cuts.
  2. UNIFIL Suspends Patrols in Southern Lebanon Following Hizballah Attack on Peacekeepers
    UN peacekeeping patrols (UNIFIL) in southern Lebanon have been suspended for three days following an assault on an international observer patrol (UNDOF) that injured three soldiers during ongoing exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and the Israeli military. The suspension came after a UN vehicle was targeted, resulting in injuries to three military observers and a Lebanese translator. Israeli forces said that a Hezbollah-planted roadside bomb was responsible for injuring the UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, contradicting Lebanese claims of an Israeli drone strike. The incident occurred near Rmeish on March 30, with initial reports mistakenly suggesting a drone attack on a UN vehicle. IDF spokesperson, Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, provided clarification, while the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) indicated the peacekeepers were on foot patrol when a shell exploded nearby, not in a vehicle as previously reported.
  3. Lebanon to Postpone Municipal Elections for Third Consecutive Time
    Lebanon’s parliament is poised to delay local elections for the third consecutive year, following previous delays due to scheduling conflicts with parliamentary elections in 2022 and financial constraints in 2023. This year’s postponement is attributed to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Despite the lack of preparations for the electoral process, discussions among political factions indicate a parliamentary majority in favor of delay, with opposition from the Lebanese Forces, the Kataeb Party, and independent MPs who have consistently opposed the extension and advocated for electoral reforms.

16-4-2024

  1. Lebanese Officials Claim Mossad Assassinated Hamas Financier in Lebanon Lebanese officials, including Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi, suggest Mossad was responsible for the assassination of Mohammad Srour, a U.S.-sanctioned individual linked to funding Hamas through Iran’s support. Srour was found dead in Beit Mery, Lebanon. The officials said Investigations Lebanese and Syrian agents under Mossad’s direction used silenced weapons to carry out the killing. The ongoing probe focuses on analyzing communications data. Srour was known for his financial connections between Hezbollah and Hamas, facilitated through the Hezbollah-aligned Bayt al-Mal bank.
  2. Gibran Bassil Calls for New UN Resolution to End Israel-Lebanon Tensions
    Gibran Bassil, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, has urged international bodies, including the UN Security Council and the EU, to enforce Resolution 1701 and advocate for a new UNSC resolution to prevent further escalations between Israel and Lebanon. In his widespread communication with global and local leaders, Bassil emphasized the need for immediate action to avert a severe conflict similar to the ongoing situation in Gaza. He highlighted the urgency of maintaining Lebanon’s constitutional integrity and pushing forward essential reforms, including presidential elections.

17-4-2024

  1. IDF Kills Senior Hezbollah Commanders in Precision Strikes
    The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the targeted killings of two high-ranking Hezbollah commanders in Lebanon. Ismail Yusef Baz, a senior commander responsible for coordinating rocket and anti-tank missile attacks from Lebanon’s coast, was one of those assassinated. Additionally, Muhammad Hossein Matzafa Shouri, who led Hezbollah’s rocket and missile unit in southern Lebanon, was also eliminated. These actions are part of Israel’s broader response to recent hostilities, including a failed large-scale aerial assault by Iran.
  2. Israeli Defense Minister Calls for Diplomatic Agreement with Lebanon Instead of War
    During a visit to Israel’s northern border, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant emphasized the possibility of resolving tensions with Lebanon through diplomatic agreements, while also preparing for all potential outcomes. Gallant discussed operational strategies with senior military officials aimed at mitigating Hezbollah’s presence near the border. His visit included meeting injured soldiers at Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, affirming his commitment to ensuring the safe return of northern citizens to their homes through either military actions or negotiations.

18-4-2024

  1. Hezbollah Confirms Two Members Killed in Israeli Strikes
    Hezbollah announced the death of two of its fighters in Israeli airstrikes targeting southern Lebanese towns, following a Hezbollah attack on an Israeli military site that wounded 18 soldiers. The strikes involved over 100 artillery and phosphorous shells. Hezbollah’s health body confirmed the deaths occurred in Kafarkila, a border village. The Lebanese National News Agency reported that Israeli forces targeted the Marjayoun district, particularly the towns of Khiam and Kafarkila, with airstrikes and heavy shelling, accusing Israel of using phosphorous bombs.
  2. Lebanese Army Commander Visits France for Military Support Talks
    Lebanese Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, has traveled to France at the invitation of the French Chief of Defense, General Thierry Burkhard to discuss ways to support the Lebanese military, enabling it to continue its operations during the current exceptional period, as announced by the Lebanese army on the “X” platform.
  3. Hezbollah Strikes Northern Israel, Wounding 14 Soldiers
    Hezbollah launched rockets and drones at a military facility in northern Israel, wounding 14 soldiers in retaliation for recent killings of its members by Israeli forces. The Israeli military, which reported six soldiers critically injured, retaliated by targeting the launch sites in Lebanon. This escalation follows months of heightened tension between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, paralleling the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Recent Israeli airstrikes targeted Hezbollah infrastructure beyond southern Lebanon, raising fears of further escalation.

22-4-2024

  1. Hamas Militants Resume Rocket Attacks on Israel from Southern Lebanon
    After weeks of pausing attacks, Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, renewed its rocket attacks from southern Lebanon, targeting an Israeli military base in Galilee with 20 Grad rockets. Hamas announced the attacks were a response to Israeli actions in Gaza and the West Bank.
  2. Geagea Says Syrian Refugees Have Become an Existential Issue for Lebanon
    Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces, emphasized the Syrian refugee issue in Lebanon has become an existential crisis for Lebanon on demographic, economic, and social levels. In an interview with L’Orient Le Jour, Geagea also argued against separating the south from the rest of Lebanon and asserted the importance of returning refugees to Syria where safe zones exist. He criticized Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement for undermining the state-building process and disrupting municipal elections. 
  3. Cyprus Promises Lebanon Aid Package to Curb Syrian Refugee Flow to EU
    Cyprus President Nicos Christodoulides announced preparations for an agreement with Lebanon to prevent the flow of Syrian refugees to the European Union. This initiative includes a forthcoming visit to Lebanon alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to unveil an EU financial aid package. The aid aims to stabilize Lebanon and limit further refugee influx to Cyprus, which has seen a significant increase in migrant arrivals. Cyprus is also increasing measures to deter refugees from reaching its shores by boat from Lebanon.
  4. Washington Seeks to Separate Lebanese Presidential Election Stalemate from South Lebanon Conflict
    Washington is promoting a “third option” strategy that separates the Lebanese presidential election from Resolution 1701. This approach aims to overcome the presidential election stalemate while preventing the expansion of conflict into southern Lebanon and addressing the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon. The U.S. and France are coordinating on these issues.

26-4-2024

  1. Hezbollah Kills Israeli Civilian in Border Ambush
    An Israeli civilian was killed by Hezbollah during an attack on an Israeli military convoy in the Kfarshouba Hills, according to the Israeli army. The incident occurred late Thursday night, involving Hezbollah anti-tank missiles and artillery and resulting in the destruction of two vehicles. The Israeli army responded with strikes on Hezbollah infrastructure and positions in the area. The deceased Israeli civilian, identified as Sharif Suad from Sallama, was reportedly working on infrastructure in the region at the time of the attack.
  2. French Proposal Seeks Resolution of Lebanese-Israeli Border Conflict
    In anticipation of French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné’s visit to Lebanon, a new French proposal aims to stabilize the Lebanese-Israeli border by implementing UN Resolution 1701 and endorsing a presidential candidate belonging to neither pro-Hizballah or anti-Hizballah political blocs. The French proposal coincides with U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein’s recent offers to facilitate a truce between Israel and Hizballah. However, local Lebanese sources say that discussions on southern Lebanon are unlikely to proceed before a Gaza ceasefire is in place.

29-4-2024

  1. Hamas Military Wing Launches Attacks on Israel from Southern Lebanon
    Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced a concentrated rocket attack on the Eastern Brigade Command Center 769 (Gibor Camp) in northern Israel, launched from southern Lebanon. This military action coincided with Hamas’ pending response to a truce proposal in the ongoing Gaza conflict, which includes hostage release conditions. Following the attack, Israel activated northern region air raid sirens. Meanwhile, the Israeli military announced airstrikes on Hezbollah’s operational infrastructure in southern Lebanon, targeting operational facilities in Jabal Blat and military buildings in Marwahin. Concurrently, Israeli forces conducted artillery shelling on the outskirts of Alma al-Shaab and Naqoura, accompanied by flares over several southern villages. The strikes, which occurred before midnight, caused significant property damage, affecting agricultural lands and homes. This ongoing exchange of fire with Hezbollah has been a near-daily occurrence since the Gaza conflict began on October 7.
  2. Lebanon Awaits French Proposal on Israel-Hezbollah Conflict
    Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri revealed that Lebanon has not yet received a proposed French resolution for the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, expected ahead of French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné’s recent visit. Séjourné assured Berri the document would arrive imminently for review. Meanwhile, Berri emphasized the link between the Gaza conflict and Lebanon’s stability, noting that cessation in Gaza would quiet the Lebanese front. Additionally, Berri stated that U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein, recently in Israel, has not scheduled a visit to Lebanon nor requested a meeting.

30-4-2024

  1. Lebanon Receives Revised French Proposal as Hochstein Plans Return to Beirut
    Lebanon officially received France’s modified proposal aimed at de-escalating tensions and halting fighting in the south. French President Emmanuel Macron’s adjustments followed consultations with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati. Formal discussions on Lebanon’s response are forthcoming. Mikati hailed the initiative as a practical framework for implementing UN Resolution 1701, emphasizing Lebanon’s commitment to its full execution. Preparations are underway for the official visit of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, focused on enhanced financial support and institution bolstering. Meanwhile, U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein is still engaged in Lebanese affairs and planning a return to Lebanon as he visit the Middle East. The French proposal, which mirrors proposals Hochstein previously made, signals U.S.-French coordination.

 

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