Israel kills four civilians in Lebanon, marking dangerous escalation
At least four civilians were killed in Israeli strikes on Lebanon Tuesday, one of the deadliest days for non-combatants since border clashes between Israel and Hezbollah started on 8 October in the wake of Hamas' 7 October attack across the Gaza border.
Two journalists from the Lebanese outlet Al-Mayadeen news network and a civilian were killed in an Israeli strike in a town in southwest Lebanon about 3 kilometers from the border.
Earlier in the day, an 80-year-old woman was killed by an Israeli strike near her home in the border town of Kafr Kila.
A car containing four people was also destroyed about seven miles north of the border, Lebanese state media reported. According to the Associated Press quoting unnamed Lebanese security officials, the four individuals in the car were members of Hamas.
Tuesday's violence brought the total number of civilians killed by Israeli bombings to 14, including three journalists.
Fighting between Hezbollah and Israel has steadily escalated since 8 October, with strikes moving farther on either side of the border and the pace of operations increasing day-by-day.
The Lebanese group had previously promised "a civilian for a civilian," but has mostly confined its strikes to Israeli military targets and towns near the northern border which have been evacuated.
On Monday, Hezbollah caused extensive damage to the Israeli Biranit military base with four Burkan missiles – a new type of munition announced by the group a week earlier which carries a higher payload than previously used missiles.
The Lebanese Information Ministry has requested the Lebanese army open an investigation into the killing of the journalists on Tuesday.
The head of Al-Mayadeen said that Israel's strike was a "direct attack," and videos showed correspondents wearing press vests just an hour before their killings.
Israel said on 13 November that it would block the Lebanese outlet, due to its "wartime efforts to harm [Israel's] security interests and to serve the enemy's goals."
Al-Mayeeden is known for pro-Palestine and pro-Hezbollah editorial line.
After Tuesday's strike on the journalists, a picture of Ali Shoeib, a correspondent with pro-Hezbollah news channel Al-Manar, circulated pro-Israel telegram channels with the words: "Next Target."
نحن ابناءُ من قال :— علي شعيب || Ali Shoeib 🇱🇧 (@alishoeib1970) November 21, 2023
" أبالموت تهددني يابن الطلقاء ؟!!
إن القتل لنا عادة وكرامتنا من الله الشهادة"
سماحة السيد حسن نصرالله 2020 pic.twitter.com/uBOOTIhD6d
Israel has previously targeted journalists in Lebanon on two separate occasions, killing Reuters photographer Essam Abdullah and seriously wounding three other press members.
Human rights organisations have called for an international investigation into the targeting of Abdullah, calling it an apparent war crime.
Hezbollah and Israel continued to exchange intense rocket fire late into Tuesday afternoon following the killing of civilians.