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BEIRUT: The Israeli military has targeted places of worship for the first time in southern Lebanon in its war against Hezbollah.

For the past 100 days, the Israel Defense Forces has hit forests, residential homes and roads in the border area, but on Wednesday an Israeli drone raided the National Evangelical Church in the center of the town of Alma Al-Shaab, causing major damage to the home of the church’s cleric, Pastor Rabie Talib.

The IDF fired five smoke shells at Syrian workers in a grape orchard in the Wazzani plain, but there were no casualties.

A security source in the south said: “The bombing carried out by the Israeli Army on Tuesday on the Wadi Al-Saluki area is unprecedented in its ferocity. On Wednesday, it targeted the town of Hula after targeting the town of Mays Al-Jabal during the past days.”

According to the source, the IDF considers any activity in the area to be associated with Hezbollah. Therefore, the bombing of Wadi Saluki aims to disrupt the supply route that this valley provides to the party, specifically toward the towns of Hula and Mays Al-Jabal. The ultimate goal is to isolate and directly target these two towns.

Preemptive Israeli bombing on the border area targeted the Kafr Shuba Heights, the towns of Kafr Kila, Taybeh, Markba, Wadi Al-Saluki, Aita al-Shaab, the outskirts of Naqoura, the area between Ramia and Marwahin, and the outskirts of the towns of al-Dhahira, Yarin, Jebin, and Tair Harfa.

An Israeli drone raided a house near the mosque in the town of Aita al-Shaab, causing the house to burn.

The Israeli attacks focused on the town of Hula, specifically targeting houses. However, no one was injured and only material damage occurred.

Israeli artillery targeted the Marjayoun Plain and the area located on the outskirts of the town of Deir Mimas, towards the town of Taybeh, with three artillery shells.

Videos showed the widespread damage to houses, roads, and infrastructure. The people who were left took refuge in their homes, and the sound of women’s screams echoed whenever the houses trembled from the rockets exploding nearby, both on the outskirts and in the center of certain villages.

A cautious calm prevailed over the western and central sectors last night, amid continued enemy reconnaissance aircraft flying and firing flares over the border villages adjacent to the Blue Line.

Hezbollah said it targeted “a gathering of Israeli soldiers in the vicinity of the Raheb site with appropriate weapons.”

Later, Hezbollah announced “the use of Burkan missiles to strike the vicinity of Ruwaisat Al-Alam in the Kfar Shuba Heights.”

Israeli artillery responded by bombing the outskirts of Rashaya Al-Fakhar and Al-Habaria.

On Wednesday, Hezbollah mourned one of its members, Rashid Mohammed Shaglil, from the town of Tamnin in the Bekaa.

Firas Al-Abiad, Lebanon’s caretaker health minister, visited the southern region and inspected several hospitals and health centers in the Nabatieh region, adjacent to the hot spot.

At the Lebanese People’s Rescue Hospital in Nabatieh, Al-Abiad said: “Our mission is to stand by our people, whatever the circumstances. At the same time, we face a danger similar to any site of confrontation and resistance. Our enemy is a criminal who does not respect any international or humanitarian conventions or laws, and the health sector has been suffering casualties in this battle and fighting without weapons. Many health institutions have been subjected to direct and indirect aggression.”

After a meeting about health security in Nabatieh, Al-Abiad told a press conference: “We have created a plan for emergencies and coordination among different groups on the field to ensure that there are no shortcomings in delivering healthcare services, whether it’s for the injured, displaced individuals, or families who are staying strong, despite limited resources. It is our responsibility to provide as much assistance as we can.”

Al-Abiad said the government has approved $98 million “to support government hospitals in covering the expenses of treating the injured. We have government hospitals on the front line, such as Mays Al-Jabal Hospital, which was subjected to a direct attack, and the hospitals of Marjayoun, Bint Jbeil, Hasbaya, Salah Ghandour, Jabal Amel, and others. These hospitals are undergoing training for emergency plans, and they have received batches of medical supplies to enhance their services.”

He added: “It is true that all of this is not enough in these circumstances, and we have listened to the problems facing health institutions in preparation for further assistance.”

Al-Abiad went to the civil defense center in Nabatieh, which is part of the Islamic Health Authority associated with Hezbollah.

These centers consist of approximately 1,000 volunteers, along with numerous ambulances and fire trucks, ready for any unforeseen situation. They are also connected to an operations room.

Meanwhile, families displaced to areas deep in the south began to complain of their inability to pay hight rents for furnished apartments.

Hezbollah had called on other southerners to host the displaced in unoccupied homes. However, “it seems that the grace period has ended, and homeowners have started demanding rent in dollars, despite our halted work in the south,” as one of the displaced said.

Samir Geagea, the leader of the Lebanese Forces party, said: “At the heart of the caretaker government’s responsibilities is to eliminate the specter of war in Lebanon and confront the dangerous issues that threaten the citizen’s security, life, family, livelihood, interests, and the future of the country.”

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