A suspected Israeli drone strike targeted southern Lebanon, killing a senior commander from Hezbollah’s elite Radwan force. The incident occurred as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was engaged on a diplomatic mission to the region to prevent the escalation of hostilities into a broader conflict. The Hezbollah commander, identified as Wissam Tawil, was the deputy head of Radwan force.

The Hezbollah commander was killed along with another fighter. The strike hit their car in Majdal Selm. The vehicle was travelling near the Al-Dabsha area in the town of Khirbet Selm, Bint Jbeil district. The strike forced the car off the road, causing it to catch fire. Emergency medical and firefighting teams, including the Civil Defence, Islamic Scouts, and Red Cross, promptly responded to the scene to extinguish the flames.

Lebanon’s state media agency confirmed injuries resulting from an Israeli drone strike on a Skoda Rapid car around 10:15 local time.

In a separate development, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced that its troops had killed 10 Palestinian fighters in Khan Younis. According to IDF’s Telegram post, the military claimed to have thwarted an attempt by these individuals to launch rockets towards Israel.

According to the health ministry, Israel killed 249 Palestinians, and seriously wounded 510 within the last 24 hours. At least 23,084 Palestinians, including 9,600 children, have been killed by Israel since 7 October. The Israeli attacks have injured almost 59,000.

Blinken’s diplomatic efforts commenced with strategic meetings in the United Arab Emirates, where he met with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, followed by a scheduled meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia. These discussions form part of Blinken’s diplomacy that included prior visits to Jordan and Qatar, centred on opposing Palestinian displacement from Gaza and advocating for greater regional involvement in Gaza’s governance structure.

The Secretary of State’s agenda encompasses urgent calls for easing tensions in areas significantly impacted by the conflict, including the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Of particular concern are the Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping, prompting the US to seek regional support against these assaults. Accompanying Blinken is Tim Lenderking, the US special envoy for Yemen to address the Houthi concern. During his visit to Qatar, Blinken highlighted the disruptive impact of Houthi attacks on global shipping, foreseeing potential price hikes for essential commodities like food and fuel.

World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the whereabouts of 600 patients and health workers from Gaza’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital are currently unknown. The hospital also struggles under airstrikes. The cancellation of a mission to deliver supplies to northern Gaza due to security concerns marked the fourth such instance since late December. This cancellation has blocked operations at crucial medical facilities, such as Al-Awda Hospital and the central drug store, supporting activities in five regional hospitals.

Despite Blinken’s pledge to advocate for increased aid flow during his address from Qatar, the situation on the ground in Gaza continues to spiral.