2 Australians killed in Israeli airstrike in Lebanon, says Australia’s acting foreign minister

Advertisement

Two Australian citizens including an alleged Hezbollah fighter were killed by an Israeli airstrike in Lebanon, Australia’s acting foreign minister said on Thursday. Ibrahim Bazzi and his brother Ali Bazzi were killed in the airstrike on Tuesday in the town of Bint Jbel in southern Lebanon, Acting Foreign Minister Mark Dreyfus said.

Ibrahim Bazzi had arrived in Lebanon recently from Sydney to accompany his Lebanese wife Shorouq Hammoud to Australia, news media reported. Hammoud, who had recently received an Australian visa, was also killed in the attack. Their three coffins were draped in the flag of Hezbollah, an ally of the Palestinian Islamist faction Hamas, which is at war with Israel.

Dreyfus said Australia was investigating Hezbollah’s claim that Ali Bazzi was one of its fighters. “Hezbollah is a listed terrorist organisation under Australian law. It’s an offence for any Australian to cooperate with, to support, let alone to fight with a listed terrorist organization like Hezbollah,” Dreyfus told reporters.

Advertisement

Dreyfus said his government had communicated with Israel about the airstrike but declined to disclose what was said. “In the context of the current conflict, Australia has consistently called for civilian lives to be protected and we have consistently raised our concerns about the risk of this conflict spreading,” Dreyfus said.

Dreyfus repeated a government warning for Australians not to travel to Lebanon. Australians already in the country should leave while commercial air services are still available. The Australian embassy in Beirut was ready to provide consular assistance to the Bazzi family if required, he said.