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Lebanese missile attack kills one in northern Israel

One person has been killed and seven others wounded in a likely Hezbollah missile attack on northern Israel.

The anti-tank missile, which was launched from Lebanon, struck an orchard near the border community of Margaliot, emergency services reported, killing a foreign worker in his 30s and leaving two others in a serious condition. Another five people were injured in the blast.

The victims, who were taken to hospital by air ambulance, are all believed to be agricultural labourers from Thailand, the Times of Israel reported.

Hezbollah has repeatedly targeted settlements in northern Israel with anti-tank missiles in recent months.

The Israeli Defence Force said it struck the missile launch site in response. It also launched fighter jet strikes on a Hezbollah compounds in the southern Lebanon town of Chihine, where members of the terror group were gathered, and in the Ayta ash-Shab area.


04:02 PM GMT

That’s all for today

Thank you for tuning in to today’s live blog. We’ll be back tomorrow to bring you all the latest from the Israel-Hamas war.

Key moments from today:

  • President Biden has warned Israel against losing the “moral high ground” in its conflict with Hamas.

  • Israel’s security agency foiled an Islamic State-inspired attack involving around 100 bombs, the Times of Israel reported.

  • A US special envoy has warned that a “limited war” between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon would not be “containable”.

  • A senior Hamas official has said “the ball is in Israel’s court” over the release of hostages, after Hamas presented the criteria for the Palestinian prisoners it wants to see released.

  • It is “impossible to know” which hostages are still alive, a Hamas spokesman has said.

  • The Israeli army has been handing out food packages to evacuating Palestinians in order to drive a wedge between the civilian population and Hamas, the Times of Israel reported.

  • Israel has captured 80 terrorist suspects attempting to hide among the civilian population evacuated from Khan Yunis, the Israel Defense Forces reported.

  • Israel has “blown up” the home of a Hamas terrorist accused of killing a British-Israeli mother and her two daughters, Palestinian media reported.

  • Israeli forces swept into the West Bank administrative capital of Ramallah overnight, killing a 16-year-old  in a refugee camp and arresting 55 people, Palestinian sources reported.

  • US Vice President Kamala Harris urged an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, upping the pressure on key ally Israel as heavy fighting raged in the Palestinian territory.


03:56 PM GMT

Gantz US visit sparks bitter feud among Israeli government

The visit of Benny Gantz to Washington to meet with vice president Harris has sparked a bitter feud among Israel’s war cabinet.

Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s finance minister, slammed the US, accusing president Biden’s government of “looking for places to drive a wedge between Israelis, in order to advance its plans, with the help of Gantz”.

“In this way, Gantz is working to advance their plans to establish a Palestinian state,” he added.

However, Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador at the UN, has hit back at the criticism over the meeting, stating: “Any meeting between an Israeli minister and [US officials] is welcomed.

“We need to remember that we’re in the midst of a difficult war.”

Mr Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, is in Washington for talks with senior officials to discuss a temporary ceasefire and delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza.


03:41 PM GMT

Pictured: Israel patrols Gaza Strip border

An Israeli soldier stands near the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel
An Israeli soldier stands near the Gaza Strip border in southern Israel - Ohad Zwigenberg/AP

03:26 PM GMT

Biden warns Israel against losing ‘moral high ground’

President Biden has warned Israel against losing the “moral high ground” in its conflict with Hamas.

“I understand the anger and the rage” sparked by October 7, “but you can’t let the rage consume you to the point where you lose the moral high ground,” he told the New Yorker.

The president said he is hoping to see a significant reduction in use of force by Israel and is pressing on the government to “come down hard on these out-of-control settlers” - referring to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Biden’s comments come as Israeli minister Benny Gantz travels to Washington to meet with Kamala Harris and other top officials in order to discuss a ceasefire arrangement.


03:13 PM GMT

Israeli ministers call for ramped-up strikes over Ramadan

Israeli hardline ministers have pushed for an escalation in strikes on Gaza during Ramadan in order to force Hamas “to keel”.

Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s Finance Minister, and Itamar Ben-Gvir, the country’s National Security Minister, have both rejected diplomatic efforts to broker a pause in fighting before the Muslim fasting month, which starts next week.

Mr Smotrich said “only more pressure on Hamas in Ramadan will force them to kneel” and release the Israeli captives, adding: “We must not allow Hamas to choose who is released from among our abductors, and the demand must be the release of all abductees.”

Meanwhile, Mr Ben-Gvir said: “We think it is necessary to order the cessation of the negotiation talks and move to another phase of fighting with intensity.”

The ministers’ criticism of diplomatic efforts highlights growing divisions both within Israel’s war cabinet, and between Israel and its Western allies over ongoing hostilities in Gaza.


02:52 PM GMT

Netanyahu rival Benny Gantz to meet US leaders

Benny Gantz, an Israeli war cabinet member, will meet with Kamala Harris, the US Vice President, and other top officials in Washington on Monday as the White House ramps up pressure on Israel to protect civilians in Gaza.

Harris and Gantz are due to discuss increasing aid to Gaza, where the United Nations says many are on the brink of starvation. as well as a hostage deal and temporary ceasefire, a White House official said.

The meeting comes after Vice President Harris described the situation in Gaza as a “humanitarian catastrophe” and called for an immediate ceasefire. She is likely to deliver the same blunt message directly to Mr Gantz.

An official from Israel’s ruling Likud party said Mr Gantz, a political rival to Benjamin Netanyahu, did not have the prime minister’s approval for his meetings in Washington and was given a “tough talk” over his actions.

The disagreement underscores widening cracks within Israel’s wartime leadership, with hard line figures, such as Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Israeli National Security Minister, pushing for an escalation in fighting.


02:48 PM GMT

Pictured: Israel strikes on Gaza and Lebanon

A Palestinian man with two children walks among the rubble of a destroyed house following Israeli air strikes in Al Nusairat refugee camp, Gaza
A Palestinian man with two children walks among the rubble of a destroyed house following Israeli air strikes in Al Nusairat refugee camp, Gaza - MOHAMMED SABER/EPA-EFE
Smoke rises from the Lebanese village of Markaba as a result of Israeli shelling
Smoke rises from the Lebanese village of Markaba as a result of Israeli shelling - ATEF SAFADI/EPA-EFE

02:25 PM GMT

Israel thwarts Isis-inspired bomb plot

Israel’s security agency foiled an Islamic State-inspired attack involving around 100 bombs, the Times of Israel reported.

Shin Bet said a group of four West Bank Palestinians made around 100 explosive devices to use against IDF troops in the region.

The devices were manufactured using online guides and instructions that the head of the cell, Murad Markatan, acquired from Islamic State operatives abroad. The cell also had assault rifles and makeshift submachine guns, the security agency said.

The bombs were safely detonated by police sappers and the other weapons seized, the security service said.

Meanwhile, the suspects, arrested last month, were named as Murad Markatan, Hasin Markatan, Muhammad Markatan and Ahmed Markatan – all residents of Tarqumiyah near Hebron. They have all been charged with serious security offences.


02:08 PM GMT

‘Limited war’ with Lebanon would not be ‘containable’, warns US envoy

A US special envoy has warned that a “limited war” between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon would not be “containable”.

“A diplomatic solution is the only way to end the current hostilities” across the Lebanon-Israel border, Amos Hochstein told reporters after meeting Lebanon’s parliament speaker Nabih Berri, who is close to Hezbollah.

“Escalation of violence is in no one’s interest, and there is no such thing as a limited war,” said Mr Hochstein, adding that “a temporary ceasefire is not enough”.

His warning comes amid the worst conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah since the 2006 war, with daily attacks from the Iran-backed terrorist group on Israeli communities and military outposts contributing to concerns about the Israel-Hamas war escalating into a regional conflict.

Despite fears of a wider conflagration, Mr Hochstein said that the US is “hopeful” about efforts to restore stability to southern Lebanon and northern Israel.


01:49 PM GMT

Pictured: Palestinians evacuate Khan Yunis

Displaced Palestinians walk after the Israeli army told residents of the Hamad area in Khan Yunis to leave their homes and head towards Rafah, near the border with Egypt
Displaced Palestinians walk after the Israeli army told residents of the Hamad area in Khan Yunis to leave their homes and head towards Rafah, near the border with Egypt - MOHAMMED SABER/EPA-EFE

01:31 PM GMT

‘Ball is in Israel’s court’ over hostages, says Hamas

A senior Hamas official has said “the ball is in Israel’s court” over the release of hostages, after Hamas presented the criteria for the Palestinian prisoners it wants to see released.

Speaking to Arab World News, the unnamed official said Hamas did not give the names of specific prisoners, but explained that at least 20 Palestinians serving life sentences will be included.

He added that Hamas is not pushing for an immediate return of Gazans to the north of the Strip because of the risk of overcrowding. Instead, it wants there to be an orderly, staged return of over 500 families a day throughout an arranged ceasefire period, with the participation of the Red Cross and UNRWA.


12:56 PM GMT

Watch: Israel retaliates after Lebanese rocket attack


12:53 PM GMT

‘Impossible’ to know which hostages are still alive, says Hamas

It is “impossible to know” which hostages are still alive, a Hamas spokesman has said.

Basem Naim, a senior Hamas official, told the BBC that the organisation cannot give Israel a list of living hostages because it does not know who is still alive or where they are being held.

“Technically and practically, it is now impossible to know exactly who is still alive and who has been killed because of the Israeli bombardment or who has been killed because of starvation because of the Israeli blockade,” Mr Naim told the BBC from Istanbul on Sunday.

He added that the hostages “are in different areas with different groups and therefore we have called for a ceasefire to be able to collect the data.”

Mr Naim repeated the Hamas demand that it will not agree to a deal without an end to the war and a full withdrawal of the IDF from Gaza.


12:34 PM GMT

Israel hands out aid to ‘drive wedge’ between civilians and Hamas

The Israeli army has been handing out food packages to evacuating Palestinians in order to drive a wedge between the civilian population and Hamas, the Times of Israel reported.

The IDF launched an operation in the Khan Younis area in recent days, inviting the civilian population to evacuate while it targets Hamas infrastructure and personnel.

As part of their efforts, Israeli forces have been handing out food packages ahead of Ramadan containing basic products such as flour, wheat, oil, sugar, tea, and dates, as well as a greeting card with a Quranic verse.

Military officials told the Times of Israel the move is aimed at driving a wedge between the civilian population and Hamas.

Around 8,500 Palestinians were evacuated from a residential complex in the region over the past day, with the IDF saying more than 80 terror suspects were captured hiding among them.


12:04 PM GMT

Israel wipe out Islamic Jihad terrorists within 30 minutes of strikes

Israel killed Palestinians who fired rockets at two Israeli settlements on Saturday within 30 minutes of the attack.

The terrorist group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for firing four long-range rockets towards the Israeli settlement of Hazterim, near Beersheba, and a projectile towards Be’eri on the Gaza border on Saturday.

The Israel Defence Force today revealed it identified the terrorist cell behind the attack within half an hour and directed an airstrike against them.

Elsewhere, the IDF says Nahal troops have killed 15 gunmen in central Gaza over the past day with sniper fire and by calling in airstrikes and tank shelling.


11:52 AM GMT

IDF captures 80 terror suspects ‘hiding’ among civilians

Israel has captured 80 terrorist suspects attempting to hide among the civilian population evacuated from Khan Yunis, the Israel Defense Forces reported.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad members were among those arrested as the military cleared a residential compound on Sunday in the southern Gaza neighborhood.

Following a large concentrated wave of airstrikes in the area on Saturday night, IDF troops encircled the area and began to carry out raids against Hamas sites in the neighborhood, the Times of Israel reported.

The IDF said it had raided Hamas weapon depots, hideout apartments, and other infrastructure used by senior Hamas officials.

“The terrorists are interrogated by the troops and provide important information for the continuation of the fighting,” the IDF said.


11:32 AM GMT

Israel destroys home of Hamas terrorist behind killing of British-Israeli family

Israel has “blown up” the home of a Hamas terrorist accused of killing a British-Israeli mother and her two daughters, Palestinian media reported.

Pictures and videos posted on social media show the destruction of a fourth-floor apartment, reported to belong to Moaz-al-Masri, who was part of a Hamas cell that opened fire at  Lucy Dee, 48, and her daughters Maia Dee, 20, and Rina Dee, 15, as they drove through the northern Jordan Valley in April last year.

The daughters were declared dead at the scene, while Lucy was rushed to a hospital in critical condition but died three days later. The family lived in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, just south of Jerusalem, having moved to Israel from London around eight years ago.

Following a lengthy manhunt, al-Masri, Hassan Qatnani and Ibrahim Jabr were killed in an Israeli military raid in early May. Hamas confirmed the three were members and claimed responsibility for the attack.

In June, the IDF published pictures of soldiers mapping the al-Masri home for demolition. As a matter of policy, Israel regularly destroys the homes of Palestinians accused of being involved in deadly terror attacks


11:06 AM GMT

Families of Gaza hostages hold silent march

Family members of those held hostage in Gaza marched in silence in Israel’s parliament to mark 150 days since their loved ones were captured.

Footage posted on social media shows the hostages’ families walking in silence in the Knesset, each holding aloft an image of a family member captured during Hamas’ October 7 attacks.

The march started with the participants standing outside the Knesset building, and counting together to 150 - the number of days when their loved ones have been in captivity, Haaretz reported. They later went inside and walked through the building’s corridors.


10:42 AM GMT

Israel carries out ‘biggest raid in years’ on West Bank capital

Israeli forces swept into the West Bank administrative capital of Ramallah overnight, killing a 16-year-old  in a refugee camp and arresting 55 people, Palestinian sources reported.

During the raid, described by Palestinian sources as “the biggest one in years”, Mustafa Abu Shalbak, 16, was killed after being shot in the neck and chest by IDF fire, The Palestinian Health Ministry reported.

Witnesses in Ramallah said Israeli forces had driven dozens of military vehicles into the city, which is the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


10:23 AM GMT

Israel launches West Bank raid

Israeli troops raid the Al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank
Israeli troops raid the Al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank - JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/Getty Images

10:06 AM GMT

Avoiding Gaza escalation is ‘imperative’, warns UN chief

The United Nations human rights chief has said it is imperative to avoid any escalation of the war in Gaza, warning that a conflagration could have devastating repercussions across the Middle East and beyond.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Volker Turk said the war in Gaza had already spilled over into neighbouring countries.

“I am deeply concerned that in this powder keg, any spark could lead to a much broader conflagration,” said Mr Turk. “This would have implications for every country in the Middle East, and many beyond it.”

He added that military escalation in southern Lebanon between Israel, Hezbollah and other armed groups is “extremely worrying”. “It is imperative to do everything possible to avoid a wider conflagration,” he said.


09:46 AM GMT

Kamala Harris calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

US Vice President Kamala Harris urged an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, upping the pressure on key ally Israel as heavy fighting raged in the Palestinian territory.

Harris’s comments on Sunday, the most forceful to date by a US administration official, came as Washington led a push to lock in a truce before Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month that begins in around one week.

Envoys from the United States, Qatar and Hamas were in Cairo for the latest round of talks over a proposal to pause the five-month-old war.

According to a senior US official, Israel has broadly accepted the terms, which would see stepped-up aid deliveries and the exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners.


09:16 AM GMT

In case you missed it: Hamas refuses to reveal how many hostages are alive

Hamas was refusing to hand over the names of living hostages, stalling talks for a ceasefire, on Sunday night, writes Melanie Swan.

Israel has demanded to know how many of the roughly 130 hostages that remain in Gaza are still alive as a condition of returning to the negotiating table.

A delegation of Israeli negotiators due to arrive in Cairo this weekend to meet with representatives from the US and Qatar was withdrawn after Hamas refused to meet the condition, according to Israeli news website Ynet.

Earlier in the weekend, a senior Hamas representative had claimed that a ceasefire deal was as close as 24 hours away. 
Read Melanie’s full story here.


08:57 AM GMT

Pictured: limited food aid dropped into Gaza

A limited amount of food aid is dropped by airplanes to the city as the Israeli attacks continue in Gaza City
A limited amount of food aid is dropped by airplanes to the city as the Israeli attacks continue in Gaza City - Getty Images/Dawoud Abo Alkas

08:41 AM GMT

‘Significant progress’ made on Gaza ceasefire

Gaza ceasefire talks have made “significant progress”, Egyptian state-linked TV reported negotiations in Cairo entered a second day.

Egyptian, Qatari and US mediators have spent weeks scrambling to negotiate a six-week truce in the Israel-Hamas conflict ahead of the start of Ramadan next week.

The proposal also includes the release of hostages abducted by Hamas during their October 7 attack that sparked the war, in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Al-Qahera News, linked to Egypt’s intelligence services, quoted an unnamed senior official as saying: “Egypt continues its intense efforts to reach a truce before Ramadan”, the Muslim fasting month which begins on March 10 or 11.

“There has been significant progress in the negotiations,” the report said. Meanwhile, a senior US official reported that Israel has broadly accepted terms of the proposed truce, which would also see increased aid deliveries into Gaza.

This comes despite reports in the Wall Street journal over the weekend, citing an unnamed Hamas official, that a ceasefire agreement is “unlikely” to be reached before Ramadan and may instead come to fruition the following week.


08:30 AM GMT

Pictured: The Hamas terrorist whose home was blown up

The home of deceased Hammas terrorist Moaz Al-Masry has been destroyed
The home of deceased Hammas terrorist Moaz Al-Masry has been destroyed
Images posted on social media show the fourth-floor apartment reduced to rubble
Images posted on social media show the fourth-floor apartment reduced to rubble - @qudsn/Twitter