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War on Gaza: Israel threatens to 'copy-paste' Gaza situation on to Lebanon

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warns Israel will take the fight to Beirut if Hezbollah does not cease attacks
Palestinians gather around the body of a youth killed by Israeli bombardment at Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Gaza on 8 January (AFP)

Israel has threatened to "copy-paste" the destruction of Gaza onto Lebanon if Hezbollah does not halt its attacks from the north.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said he viewed the ongoing conflict in Gaza as part of a fight against a wider "axis" comprising Hamas, Iran and the Lebanese armed group, among others.

“My basic view: we are fighting an axis, not a single enemy,” he told the outlet. “Iran is building up military power around Israel in order to use it.”

On Monday, an Israeli air strike killed senior Hezbollah commander Wissam al-Tawil, raising fears of a further escalation between Israel and its northern neighbour.

Tawil died along with another fighter from the Lebanese armed group, according to the Reuters news agency, after the air strike hit the pair's car in the village of Majdal Selm.

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Known as “Jawad”, Tawil was a deputy head of a unit in the elite Radwan force and played an important role in Hezbollah's recent confrontations with the Israeli army.

Hezbollah has launched sporadic attacks on Israel since the conflict in Gaza began on 7 October, but has repeatedly resisted being drawn into a wider conflict.

Despite this Gallant said Israel would not hesitate to target the group as allowing them and their allies "to decide how we live our lives here in Israel” was “something we don’t accept”.

“They see what is happening in Gaza,” he said. “They know we can copy-paste to Beirut.”

Intentional starvation

At least 73 Palestinians were killed in Gaza in the past 24 hours, with the death toll topping 22,900.

Israeli NGO B’Tselem on Monday accused Israel of deliberately starving Gaza, and that around 2.2 million people are surviving in Gaza “on almost nothing, routinely going without meals”.

“The desperate search for food is relentless, and usually unsuccessful, leaving the entire population – including babies, children, pregnant or nursing women and the elderly – hungry,” the statement read.

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The organisation said most cultivated fields had been destroyed, and accessing open areas during the war was dangerous in any case. 

Bakeries, factories and food warehouses have been bombed or shut down due to Israel shutting off all fuel and electricity to the Strip since 9 October.

Stockpiles in private homes, stores and warehouses have also run out. 

Separately, Save the Children said more than 10 children per day, on average, had lost one or both of their legs in Gaza since conflict erupted.

Since 7 October, more than 1,000 children have had one or both legs amputated, according to Unicef, with many of these operations on children done without anaesthetic. 

"I’ve seen doctors and nurses completely overwhelmed when children come in with blast wounds. The impact of seeing children in that much pain and not having the equipment, medicines to treat them or alleviate pain is too much for even experienced professionals," said Save the Children’s country director for the occupied Palestinian territory, Jason Lee. 

"Even in a war zone, the sights and sounds of a young child mutilated by bombs cannot be reconciled let alone understood within the bounds of humanity."

Journalist deaths

Though Israel's allies have continued to provide support, there have been increasing calls for restraint by the international community.

The UN voiced concerns on Monday at the high number of journalists killed in Gaza.

"Very concerned by high death toll of media workers in Gaza," the UN rights office said on X, formerly Twitter, adding that each death should be "thoroughly, independently investigated to ensure strict compliance with international law, and violations prosecuted".

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Separate Israeli air strikes on Monday killed the family members of two Palestinian journalists in Gaza.

Ahmad al-Batta, a reporter for Qatar-based Al Araby, lost his mother and several other members of his family in one attack.

A video of Batta finding out about the attack has been aired by Al Araby.

Separately, Sameer Radi, a reporter for a Palestinian television channel, also lost his wife and two children in an air strike.

Two journalists, including the son of Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh, were killed by an Israeli strike in southern Gaza on Sunday. 

Hamza al-Dahdouh and his colleague Mustafa Thuraya, a video stringer for AFP, were doing fieldwork documenting the destruction caused by an overnight Israeli air strike in a residential area between Khan Younis and Rafah when a missile hit the vehicle they were travelling in, according to Al Jazeera.

In October, Wael lost his wife, daughter, another son and a grandson when they were killed by an Israeli air strike while sheltering in a relative's home.

Last month, Wael was himself wounded by an Israeli strike that killed his Al Jazeera colleague Samer Abudaqa.

Gaza's government media office said Sunday's killings took the death toll of Palestinian journalists in Gaza killed since 7 October to 109. 

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