Lebanon border calm as Israel-Hamas truce takes effect

24 Nov 2023 07:54pm
Flames and smoke rise from an agricultural structure in southern Lebanon's Khiam plain  following Israeli bombardment - AFP
Flames and smoke rise from an agricultural structure in southern Lebanon's Khiam plain following Israeli bombardment - AFP

BEIRUT - Calm returned to Lebanon's southern border Friday as a temporary truce took effect in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, according to Lebanese state media and the Israeli military.

Since the Gaza war erupted on October 7, Lebanon's southern border with Israel has witnessed deadly exchanges of fire, primarily involving the Israeli army and Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, as well as Palestinian groups.

Hezbollah has yet to say whether it will comply with the terms of the agreement that was brokered by Qatar with help from Egypt and the United States.

"A precarious calm reigned on the southern border, with the humanitarian truce in Gaza coming into effect at 7:00 in the morning (0500 GMT)," Lebanon's official National News Agency reported.

Six hours after the Gaza pause went into force, an Israeli military spokesman confirmed to AFP that there had been no subsequent incidents or firing so far across the Lebanon border.

The four-day truce in the Gaza Strip will see Hamas exchange 50 hostages seized from Israel for 150 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

An AFP journalist in the Marjayoun border region said he had heard exchanges of fire 10 minutes prior to the truce, before the guns fell silent.

A resident in the Alma al-Shaab border region also said the situation was calm and that he could no longer hear Israeli planes or reconnaissance drones flying overhead.

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On the eve of the truce, Hezbollah had intensified its cross-border attacks on the Israeli army, which in response pounded southern Lebanon.

On Friday, the powerful Iran-backed Shiite group claimed responsibility for 22 attacks on Israeli positions from southern Lebanon, where it lost seven of its fighters during the day.

Hezbollah says it has been acting in support of Hamas.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and its retaliatory air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip has killed nearly 15,000 people, thousands of them children, according to the Hamas government of the Palestinian territory.

The cross-border clashes between Israel and Hezbollah have claimed 109 lives in Lebanon, at least 77 of them Hezbollah fighters and 14 civilians, according to an AFP count.

Among those killed were three journalists, the son of the head of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc and an official from Hamas's military wing in Lebanon - AFP