An Israeli airstrike targeted and killed a high-ranking Hezbollah commander in southern Lebanon on Monday. It is marking a dangerous escalation in the ongoing conflict along the border. The strike, which targeted an SUV, claimed the life of a commander affiliated with a secretive Hezbollah force operating in the region, according to a Lebanese security official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The identified Hezbollah militant, Wissam al-Tawil, is the most senior figure in the armed group to have been killed since the October 7 attack by Hamas in southern Israel. The aftermath of that attack led to an all-out war in Gaza and intensified hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah. The situation further escalated when a senior Hamas leader was killed in a recent Israeli strike in Beirut.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, currently back in the region, appears to be working to prevent a broader conflict. Israel, on its part, has stated that major operations in northern Gaza have concluded, with the focus shifting to the central region and the southern city of Khan Younis. Officials in Israel anticipate that the fighting will persist for several more months. As they aim to dismantle Hamas and recover hostages taken during the October 7 attack.
The offensive in Gaza has taken a severe toll, with over 23,000 Palestinians, including civilians and combatants, losing their lives. Vast areas of the Gaza Strip have been devastated. It is leading to the displacement of nearly 85% of its 2.3 million population. Approximately a quarter of the residents now face the threat of starvation.
As the conflict intensifies, hospitals in Gaza are facing unprecedented challenges. Witnesses reported medics, patients, and displaced individuals fleeing the main hospital in central Gaza as the fighting approached. The potential loss of this facility would deal another significant blow to a health system already shattered by three months of relentless war.
Tens of thousands of people seeking shelter in Gaza’s hospitals are straining the already limited resources. Only 13 out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functioning, according to the UN humanitarian office. The situation remains dire, with the international community closely watching as tensions escalate in the volatile region.