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Flooding Hamas tunnels could harm Gaza freshwater for generations, warns academic

Israeli environmental experts have called on the defense establishment to carefully weigh the long-term environmental implications of reported plans to flood the immense network of tunnels in the Gaza Strip with seawater to flush the Hamas militants out.

Quoting U.S. officials, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Israeli army last month set up five large water pumps near the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, which are capable of flooding the tunnels within weeks by pumping thousands of cubic meters of water per hour into them.

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Al-Rahi to visit South on Thursday

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi will make a solidarity visit to the South on Thursday at the head of a delegation from the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops, the Catholic Media Center said.

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Geagea slams Hezbollah for never keeping word, govt. for inaction after Hamas statement

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea rejected Wednesday a Hamas statement that announced the establishment in Lebanon of a division called al-Aqsa Flood Vanguards and called on Palestinian youths to join it.

"This statement is unacceptable and it violates Lebanon's sovereignty," Geagea said.

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Hezbollah has agreed to Aoun's term extension, says MP

Hezbollah has agreed to the extension of the term of Army chief General Joseph Aoun, MP Sajih Atiyeh said on Wednesday.

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Dialogue resumes between Bkerki and Hezbollah

Dialogue has resumed between Bkerki and Hezbollah, Head of the Lebanese Catholic Media Center Father Abdo Abou Kassem said.

The committee led by Bkerki spokesman Walid Ghayyad and Hezbollah official Mohammed Saeed al-Khansa is positively discussing points of national and political disagreements.

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Banks ask state to pay its BDL debt to allow them to pay depositors

Eleven Lebanese banks on Wednesday submitted a memo to the Finance Ministry demanding that the Lebanese state pay its debts and obligations to the Central Bank (BDL) to allow it to pay its obligations to the Lebanese banks, to allow them in turn to return the trapped funds to depositors, the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) said.

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Israel-Hezbollah border skirmishes: Latest developments

Israel shelled and carried out air strikes on southern border towns Wednesday, including Yaroun, Maroun el-Ras, Halta, Kfarhamam, al-Naqoura, Aita al-Shaab, Blida, Mhaibib and Aitaroun.

Hezbollah for its part attacked the Israeli al-Radar post in the occupied Shebaa Farms.

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Mikati says UN-backed talks planned to bring 'stability' to south Lebanon

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Tuesday that U.N.-sponsored talks are planned in the coming months to bring "greater stability" to Lebanon's clashes-hit southern border region.

The talks will aim at "reaching an agreement, via the U.N., about contested points along the border with the Israeli enemy," Mikati told a delegation from Lebanon's consular corps.

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One soldier killed, three wounded by Israeli shelling in Odaisseh

A Lebanese soldier was killed Tuesday and three others were injured by Israeli shelling that targeted their position on the al-Awayda Hill in the southern town of Odaisseh, as Hezbollah and Israel traded cross-border fire.

"An army military position in the Odaisseh area was bombarded by the Israeli enemy, leaving one soldier martyred and three others injured," the Lebanese army said in a statement.

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Qatari envoy expected in Beirut this week

A Qatari envoy is expected to arrive in Beirut this week, political sources told the Kuwaiti al-Anbaa newspaper, in remarks published Tuesday.

The five-nation group for Lebanon -- the United States, Saudi Arabia, France, Egypt and Qatar -- has been intensifying its efforts to help break the presidential impasse and keep Lebanon out of the Gaza war.

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