Human rights watch condemns israeli strike on lebanese civilians, calls for suspension of US weapons sales.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on Tuesday denouncing an Israeli airstrike in Lebanon that resulted in the deaths of seven first responders, labeling it as “an unlawful attack on civilians.” The organization urged Washington to halt weapons sales to Israel in response.

Tensions have escalated in the Israel-Lebanon border region with frequent clashes between the Israeli army and Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, following an attack by the Palestinian militant group on southern Israel on October 7, which sparked conflict in Gaza.

The strike, which targeted an emergency and relief center in the southern village of Habariyeh on March 27, claimed the lives of seven volunteers. HRW asserted that the attack violated international law by failing to take necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties.

While the Israeli military claimed the target was a military compound housing “a significant terrorist operative” from Jamaa Islamiya, HRW found no evidence supporting this assertion. Instead, they determined that the strike hit a residential structure hosting the Emergency and Relief Corps of the Lebanese Succour Association, a non-governmental humanitarian organization.

Although Jamaa Islamiya denied any affiliation with the emergency responders, and the association confirmed no ties to Lebanese political organizations, HRW emphasized that the victims were civilians, including 18-year-old twin brothers.

While social media suggested potential links between two victims and Jamaa Islamiya, HRW emphasized that the victims were primarily civilians. Additionally, evidence at the site, including remains of an Israeli bomb and a guidance kit produced by the US-based Boeing Company, indicated the use of US weapons in the strike.

Ramzi Kaiss, HRW’s Lebanon researcher, condemned the use of US weapons in an attack that claimed civilian lives, calling on the United States to suspend arms sales and military assistance to Israel in light of evidence suggesting their unlawful use.