Mourners attend in the southern Lebanese village of Al Qantara on February 15, 2024 the funeral of a woman and two children killed yesterday during an Israeli air strike in the village of Al Sawwaneh. Image Credit: AFP

NABATIEH, Lebanon: Hussein Barjawi had invited his daughter, her husband and their two young sons to dinner in south Lebanon, but an Israeli strike nearly wiped them all out, an official said Thursday.

At least five family members — Hussein Barjawi, his daughters Amani and Zeinab, his sister Fatima and Zeinab’s son Mahmud Amer — were killed in the strike on the city of Nabatiyeh, Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported.

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It was the bloodiest civilian toll from a single strike on Lebanon since cross-border hostilities erupted in October between Israel and Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah movement.

And the death toll could go even higher, with NNA reporting that Barjawi’s wife and niece were still unaccounted for, while Hussein Amer, a small boy, was pulled alive from the rubble.

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Amin Shomar, a local official in south Lebanon, said Ali Amer, his wife and their two sons, aged three and four, had been “invited over to his father-in-law’s house in Nabatiyeh for dinner”.

Amer was “badly wounded” in the strike and was taken to hospital, Shomar told AFP, while his wife and son were killed and his other son was pulled out from the rubble alive.

Video circulating on social media purportedly showed the rescue of the boy, his face bloody and wearing a blue tracksuit, a mattress among the debris beside him.

An AFP photographer said the ground and first floors of the three-storey residential building were hit, with pieces of furniture strewn among the rubble.

Authorities had cordoned off the area as the search continued, he added.

Schools, universities and local administrative offices in Nabatiyeh were closed on Thursday following the attack.

The Israeli military and the Iran-backed Hezbollah group have been trading near daily cross-border fire since the Israel-Hamas war broke out in October.

The Lebanese group saying it is acting in support of Palestinian ally Hamas with its attacks on Israel.


Eleven people including two Hezbollah militants were killed in Israeli strikes in south Lebanon on Wednesday, the NNA and the group said, while an Israeli soldier was killed by unclaimed rocket fire from Lebanon.

A woman, her child, aged two, and stepchild, 13, in the village of Sawwaneh were among those killed in the Israeli strikes Wednesday, according to the NNA.

Tarek Mroueh, 35, who works in a pharmaceutical company, expressed shock at the sudden violence that rocked his neighbourhood in Nabatiyeh.

He said he initially thought a Hezbollah member’s house might have been targeted.

“But then we learnt that it was Hussein Barjawi’s building. He’s a civilian, not affiliated with any political party,” Mroueh said.

Mohammed Bdeir, a mechanic whose workshop is nearby, said that “civilians were targeted and everybody knows it”.

“There is no military objective here,” the 67-year-old added.

Nabatiyeh had been relatively spared the cross-border violence until last week.

An Israeli drone strike on a car seriously wounded a Hezbollah commander in the city on February 8, sources on both side of the frontier said, with the group firing a salvo of rockets at northern Israel in response.

The cross-border hostilities have killed at least 254 people on the Lebanese side, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 38 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed, according to the Israeli army.