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Australian brothers killed in Israeli airstrike

An Australian man, his wife and brother have been killed after an Israeli warplane allegedly fired on buildings in a Lebanese border town.

Ibrahim Bazzi, 27, reportedly arrived in Lebanon from Sydney a few days ago to visit his wife, Shorouk Hammoud, in the town of Bint Jbeil, about five kilometers from the Israeli border.

The couple married in Lebanon three years ago and Ms Hammoud had recently obtained an Australian visa, with plans to join her husband in Australia to start a new life together, according to the ABC.

Mr Bazzi and Ms Hammoud were reportedly killed in the attack, along with Ibrahim’s 30-year-old brother Ali.

Ali Bazzi also grew up in Australia but moved to Lebanon to get married several years ago.

According to AFP, Hezbollah – an Iranian-backed Islamic militant group opposed to Israel – said Ali was one of its fighters and described him as a martyr.

There is no indication that the younger brother, Ibrahim Bazzi, or his wife were affiliated with the group.

The National News Agency, a Lebanese government-owned publication, reported that the airstrike came from an Israeli warplane that fired a missile at houses in Bint Jbeil.

These claims have not been independently verified.

The Israeli military has confirmed that it struck Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon in response to what it says were rockets and missiles fired at northern Israel.

Hezbollah is distinct from the Lebanese army, which Israel has not targeted.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was aware of reports of the deaths of two Australian citizens in Lebanon and was seeking to verify the claims.

The deaths reported by the Brotherhood would make them the first Australians killed in Lebanon since the Gaza conflict began.

The Bazzis’ uncle, Mohamed Kahmees, described Ibrahim as “a beautiful boy.”

“He went to find his wife in Lebanon for a better life… and then this happened,” he said.

“I’m still really in shock.”

Australian website Smartraveller says there is a possibility of an increase in armed conflict in Lebanon that could affect larger parts of the country.

“Daily military actions are taking place in southern Lebanon, including rocket and missile fire, as well as airstrikes,” it said.

“The situation could escalate quickly.”

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