An Israeli drone strike on a car in eastern Lebanon killed two people Friday, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency says. The strike came after Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group carried out an attack along the border that killed an Israeli civilian.

Meanwhile, Egypt sent a high-level delegation to Israel for talks seeking to push through a cease-fire agreement with Hamas and avert an Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip city of Rafah, officials said.

More than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have sought refuge in Rafah, which is on the border with Egypt. Egypt warned that a possible Israeli offensive focused on Rafah could have catastrophic consequences to regional stability.

The Israeli military has massed dozens of tanks and armored vehicles in the area in what appears to be preparations for an invasion of the city.

The Israel-Hamas war was sparked by the unprecedented Oct. 7 raid into southern Israel in which militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages. Israel says the militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

The war has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, around two-thirds of them children and women.

Currently:

Premature baby girl rescued from her dead mother’s womb dies in Gaza after 5 days in an incubator

— A U.S.-led effort to bring aid to Gaza by sea is moving forward, but big concerns remain

— As some U.S. universities negotiate with pro-Palestinian protesters, others quickly call the police

— Students at prestigious Paris university occupy campus building in pro-Palestinian protest

— U.S. says it’s reviewing new information about Israeli unit accused of abuses before the war in Gaza

Here is the latest:

ISRAELI DRONE STRIKE IN LEBANON KILLS 2

BEIRUT — An Israeli drone strike on a car in eastern Lebanon killed two people Friday, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency says.

The Israeli military said it targeted an official with Lebanon’s al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, or the Islamic Group, that is allied with Hezbollah. It has been active in predominantly Sunni Muslim villages along the Lebanon’s southern border with Israel.

The Israeli military said the man killed was Musab Khalaf. It says Khalaf was behind attacks on Israeli troops in the disputed Chebaa Farms that Israel captured from Syria during the 1967 Mideast war. The Lebanese government says the area belongs to Lebanon.

An official with al-Jamaa al-Islamiya refused to confirm NNA’s report when contacted by The Associated Press. The attack occurred on a road near the eastern village of Maydoun, NNA said without identifying the two killed.

The strike came a day after Hezbollah carried out an attack along the border that killed an Israeli civilian.

Hezbollah and Israel have traded fire on a near-daily basis along the border since the start of the war in Gaza nearly seven months ago. Hezbollah says it is acting in solidarity with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, whose deadly Oct. 7 attack into southern Israel triggered the war.

MISSILE FIRE SEEN IN THE RED SEA

JERUSALEM — Missiles suspected to have been fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels landed in the Red Sea on Friday, a private security company said.

The attack follows an uptick in assaults launched by the Houthis in recent days after a relative lull in their monthslong campaign over Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The private security company Ambrey said three missiles could be seen in the attack, which landed closest to a Panama-flagged, Seychelles-registered tanker it described as being “engaged in Russia-linked trade.” The vessel was traveling from Primorsk, Russia, to Vadinar, India, Ambrey said.

Those details corresponded to a tanker called the Andromeda Star, which had been previously broadcasting its location off Mocha, Yemen, according to ship-tracking data.

The Houthis did not immediately claim the missile fire, though it typically takes the rebels several hours to acknowledge their attacks.

The Houthis have launched more than 50 attacks on shipping, seized one vessel and sank another since November, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

ISRAEL’S NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER IS INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT

JERUSALEM — Israel’s national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, was injured in a car accident and brought to the hospital Friday after visiting the scene of a stabbing attack in central Israel, according to Israeli police and Hebrew media.

Ben-Gvir’s office said he was in good condition. The statement also said that Ben-Gvir’s daughter, a security guard, and a driver were lightly injured.

He had just visited the scene where Israeli police said a young woman had been stabbed several times in the back by a militant on Friday. Paramedics brought her to the hospital in serious condition.

Israel’s police chief said the attacker was chased by civilians for about a kilometer before he tried to stab another woman. He was then shot dead by a civilian with a licensed weapon.

Since the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7, Palestinians have carried out a number of attacks against Israelis, some of them deadly. Violence also has surged in the West Bank, with 489 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The car accident involving Ben-Gvir injured three people, police said. Hebrew media aired footage of a black car overturned on the road and quoted a witness who said that the car had run a red light.

ERDOGAN DENIES TURKISH RADAR BASE WAS USED TO INTERCEPT IRAN’S MISSILES

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday denied rumors that drones and ballistic missile strikes from Iran’s attack on Israel on April 13 were intercepted due to early detection by a NATO radar base in southeastern Turkey.

“The radar center in Kurecik (Malatya province) does not and cannot have any relationship, bond or contact with any state other than the security of our country and our alliance,” he said

Speaking at a televised pro-Palestinian event, Erdogan also reiterated that Turkey has cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel and will impose more trade restrictions.

“From a commercial perspective, the only country that imposes export restrictions on Israel in 54 product groups is Turkey,” Erdogan said.

Turkey, a staunch critic of Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip, announced that it was restricting exports of 54 types of products to Israel in early April. They include aluminum, steel, construction products, jet fuel and chemical fertilizers. In response, Israel banned products from Turkey.

LEADING ISRAELI ACADEMICS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER US CAMPUS PROTESTS

The heads of Israel’s major research universities signed a letter Friday expressing deep concern over what they viewed as a surge of antisemitism at American colleges as pro-Palestinian protests sweep campuses across the United States.

In the letter, the university heads allege that the recent demonstrations have created “a climate where Israeli and Jewish students and faculty members feel compelled to hide their identities or avoid campuses altogether for fear of physical harm.” The letter did not include specific examples.

The statement comes as pro-Palestinian protesters set up encampments at universities across the country.

Many are demanding schools cut financial ties to Israel and divest from companies they say are enabling the conflict.

Israel and its supporters have branded the protests as antisemitic, while critics of Israel say it uses such allegations to silence opponents.

While some protesters have been caught on camera making antisemitic remarks or violent threats, organizers of the protests, some of whom are Jewish, say it is a peaceful movement aimed at defending Palestinian rights and protesting the war.

“Freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate are vital to the health of any democracy,” wrote the college presidents, whose association goes by the acronym VERA in Israel. “However, these freedoms do not include the right to to engage in violence, make threats against communities, or call for the destruction of the state of Israel.”

They said that they would help Jewish students and faculty wishing to move to Israel.

EGYPT SENDS CEASE-FIRE DELEGATION TO ISRAEL

CAIRO — Egypt sent a high-level delegation to Israel in the hope of reaching a cease-fire agreement with Hamas in Gaza, while warning a possible new Israeli offensive focused on the southern city of Rafah on the border with Egypt could have catastrophic consequences for regional stability, two officials said Friday.

Egypt’s top intelligence official, Abbas Kamel, is leading the delegation and plans to discuss a “new vision” on establishing a prolonged cease-fire in Gaza with Israeli officials, an Egyptian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to freely discuss the mission.

Talks will focus at first on a limited exchange of hostages held by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners, along the return of a significant number of displaced Palestinians to their homes in northern Gaza “with minimum restrictions,” the official said.

The hope is that negotiations will then continue, with the goal of a larger deal to end the war, he said.

Hamas has said it will not back down from its demands for a permanent cease-fire and full withdrawal of Israeli troops, both of which Israel has refused. Israel says it will continue military operations until Hamas is definitively defeated and will retain a security presence in Gaza afterwards.

Israel has also been conducting near-daily raids on Rafah, a city in which more than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have sought refuge.

While in Israel, Kamel plans to make clear that Egypt “will not tolerate” Israel’s deployments of troops along Gaza’s borders with Egypt, the Egyptian official said.

A Western diplomat in Cairo also said that Egypt has intensified its efforts in recent days to reach a compromise and establish a short cease-fire in Gaza that will help negotiate a longer truce and avert the Rafah offensive.

The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity to freely discuss the developments.

— Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed.

HEZBOLLAH AMBUSHES ISRAELI CONVOY, KILLING CIVILIAN

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group fired anti-tank missiles and artillery shells at an Israeli military convoy in a disputed area along the border, killing an Israeli civilian, the group and Israel’s military said Friday.

Hezbollah said that its fighters ambushed the convoy on Thursday shortly before midnight, destroying two vehicles.

The Israeli military said the ambush wounded an Israeli civilian doing infrastructure work, and that he later died of his wounds.

The incident took place in a disputed area known in Lebanon as the Kfar Chouba hills and in Israel as Har Dov. The area was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Mideast war and is are part of Syria’s Golan Heights that Israel annexed in 1981. The Lebanese government says the area belongs to Lebanon.

Hezbollah and Israel have traded fire on a near-daily basis along the border since the start of the war in Gaza nearly seven months ago. Hezbollah says it is acting in solidarity with the Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, which triggered the war with its deadly Oct. 7 attack into southern Israel.

The low-intensity fighting has repeatedly threatened to boil over as Israel has targeted senior Hezbollah militants in recent months.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced on both sides of the border.

On the Israeli side, the cross-border fighting has killed 10 civilians and 12 soldiers. In Lebanon, more than 350 people have been killed, including 50 civilians and 271 Hezbollah members.

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