Beirut - The Israeli army has expanded its military attacks in Lebanon, warned Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, citing Israel’s systematic and deliberate targeting of civilians there, which have resulted in dozens of casualties.

The escalation in Israeli attacks comes amid increased tensions along Israel’s southern border with Lebanon since 8 October 2023, coinciding with the crime of genocide committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip, said Euro-Med Monitor.

Israeli airstrikes on the town of Nabatieh yesterday (Wednesday 14 February), killed four Lebanese and injured three others, including a child. Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes on the towns of Al-Sowaneh and Adshit in southern Lebanon resulted in the killing of four additional Lebanese and the injuries of 10 more individuals, including a woman and two children. This could be viewed as a new war crime committed by Israel against Lebanese civilians, said the rights organisation.

Israeli warplanes launched violent air strikes on several Lebanese border towns on Wednesday morning, including Adshit, Al-Shehabiya, Al-Sawwanah, Jabour Heights, Iqlim al-Tuffah, Jabaa, Sunya, and the outskirts of Zhalta, a town located in the Jezzine district. Israeli artillery shelling also targeted the outskirts of Naqoura, Jabal al-Labouneh, Marwahin, and Al-Dhahira.

Continuous Israeli military attacks on southern Lebanon since 8 October have resulted in the killing of about 250 people, including three journalists, in the midst of widespread targeting of Lebanese civilians and civilian property. Notably, the use of internationally prohibited white phosphorus artillery shells by the Israeli army was documented last November in the southern Lebanon villages of Al-Dhahira, Al-Mari, and Aita Al-Shaab, confirmed Euro-Med Monitor.

The Geneva-based organisation emphasised the need for an impartial and thorough international investigation into the war crimes and grave violations caused by Israel’s military assaults in southern Lebanon, particularly with regard to the targeting of civilians and the disproportionate use of force that violates international humanitarian law.

The rights group confirmed that preliminary investigations into the Israeli military attacks show that Israel has violated its obligations under international humanitarian law as well as the rules of war. Euro-Med Monitor drew specific attention to the necessity of protecting civilians at all times during conflicts, and stated that Israel’s deliberate launching of military attacks against civilians constitutes a violation of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, particularly Additional Protocol I.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor called on Israel’s allies, especially the United States, to stop selling weapons and providing military support to Israel, as these are likely being used to commit war crimes and other grave human rights violations against defenseless civilians. The rights group also reiterated the urgent need to declare an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in order to alleviate civilian suffering and stop additional civilian fatalities, including those that occur on Lebanese territory.