Travel warning after Australians die in Lebanon airstrike

The brothers' father Ahmad Bazzi mourns over one of their coffin during their funeral processions, in Bint Jbeil, South Lebanon.

The brothers' father Ahmad Bazzi mourns over one of their coffin during their funeral processions, in Bint Jbeil, South Lebanon. Photo: AAP

Australians in Lebanon are again being urged to come home amid security concerns after two citizens were killed in an air strike.

Funerals were held overnight for an Australian-Lebanese man, his Lebanese wife and his brother after the trio were killed in the Middle Eastern country’s south.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the deaths of two Australian citizens in the strike.

The embassy in Beirut was ready to offer consular assistance to the family, the department said.

The dead have been identified by Middle Eastern media as Australian-Lebanese civilian Ibrahim Bazzi, his wife and Lebanese citizen Shorouq Hammoud, and his brother Ali Bazzi.

“They were in their homes,” a medic who works with the Civil Defence in south Lebanon told The National, an English-language news outlet based in the United Arab Emirates.

There were no signs of fighting nearby before the strike and Hammoud was recovered first from the debris, he said.

“When they found her she was alive but she died shortly after,” he told The National.

Lebanon’s National News Agency also reported the deaths, saying the home belonged to the Bazzi family.

The volatile security situation was why Australians were being warned not to travel to Lebanon, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Mark Dreyfus said.

“There is daily military activity in southern Lebanon, including rocket and missile fire as well as extracts,” he said in Melbourne on Thursday.

“For Australians in Lebanon, we urge you to leave while commercial options remain available.”

Dreyfus reiterated calls for civilian lives to be protected as conflict in Gaza spreads in the wider region.

“It is why we have been working with countries who have influence in the region to prevent further escalation and it is why we have been advising Australians not to travel to Lebanon,” he said.

Lebanese-based Hezbollah, designated a terrorist organisation by the Australian government, has widespread support in the area.

It declared Ali Bazzi as one of the Shi’ite Muslim group’s fighters, according to Reuters.

Hezbollah, an ally of Palestinian Islamist faction Hamas, has been exchanging fire with Israel across Lebanon’s southern border since the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza began on October 7.

The government was still working to establish whether the man was a part of Hezbollah and is aware of claims, Dreyfus said.

“We will continue to make inquiries about this particular person, with whom Hezbollah has claimed links,” he said.

“One of the reasons why the Australian government has listed Hezbollah … as a terrorist organisation is because of the potential links to Australia and Australians.”

Hammoud was recently granted an Australian visa. She and her husband, who have been married for three years, planned to travel soon to Sydney, Nine News reported.

Ibrahim Bazzi is believed to have moved to Australia in 2020-21.


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