Gaza faces the threat of famine. How children starve.

Gaza faces the threat of famine. How children starve.
File photo Displaced Palestinian children gather to receive food at a government school in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 19, 2024, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas.(AFP)
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Updated 24 June 2024

Gaza faces the threat of famine. How children starve.

Gaza faces the threat of famine. How children starve.
  • One in three children in northern Gaza are acutely malnourished or suffering from wasting

Nearly 166 million people worldwide are estimated to need urgent action against hunger, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), a global partnership which measures food insecurity.
That includes nearly everyone in the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli military launched an offensive in October following an attack on Israel by Hamas militants. More than one million of Gaza’s inhabitants face the most extreme form of malnutrition – classified by the IPC as ‘Catastrophe or Famine.’
Seven-month-old Majd Salem is one of them.
Born on Nov. 1, three weeks after Israel launched the offensive, the child was being treated for a chest infection in the neonatal ICU at Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza on May 9. The nurse caring for him said he was suffering from severe malnutrition.
Majd was born at a healthy weight of 3.5 kg (7.7 pounds), said his mother, Nisreen Al-Khateeb.
By May, when he was six months old, his weight had barely changed to 3.8 kg, she said – around 3 kg less than would be expected for a baby his age.
Majd, whose eyes keenly followed visiting reporters in the ward, had to be given antibiotics for the infection and fortified milk to boost his weight, his mother said. Reuters was unable to trace them after May 21, when the hospital was evacuated following an Israeli raid.
One in three children in northern Gaza are acutely malnourished or suffering from wasting, according to the UN children’s agency UNICEF, citing data from its partners on the ground. Ismail Al-Thawabta, director of the Hamas-run government media office, said their records showed 33 people had died of malnutrition in Gaza including 29 children, but added that the number could be higher.
COGAT, an Israeli defense ministry agency tasked with coordinating aid deliveries into Palestinian territories, did not respond to a request for comment for this story. Israel’s foreign ministry in late May issued a detailed statement questioning the IPC’s methods of analysis, which it said omitted measures Israel had taken to improve access to food in Gaza. The IPC declined to comment.
The plight of Gaza’s children is part of a bigger trend. Globally last year more than 36 million children under 5 were acutely malnourished, nearly 10 million of them severely, according to the Global Report on Food Crises, a collaborative analysis of food insecurity by 16 international organizations.
The food shortage in Gaza, while particularly widespread, comes amid a broader spike in extreme hunger as conflicts around the world intensify.
Two other countries – South Sudan and Mali – each have thousands of people living in zones listed on the IPC website as facing famine. Another 35 – including Sudan, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo – have many people in the IPC’s next-most acute category of food deprivation.
The IPC, a grouping of United Nations agencies, national governments and non-governmental organizations, is expected to update its assessment of the picture in war-torn Sudan in coming weeks. A preliminary projection reported by Reuters earlier this month said as many as 756,000 people in Sudan could face catastrophic food shortages by September.
Gaza’s hunger crisis is also a product of war. The Israeli military invaded the Strip in response to the Oct. 7 cross-border assault by Hamas on Israel. More than 37,000 Palestinians and nearly 1,500 Israelis have been killed since then, Gazan and Israeli tallies show.
The Israeli assault has destroyed swathes of Gazan farmland. In the early days of the war, Israel imposed a total blockade on Gaza. It later allowed some humanitarian supplies to enter but is still facing international calls to let in more.
The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, in seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, last month accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant of using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, among other alleged crimes. Netanyahu, calling that move “a moral outrage of historic proportions,” said Israel is fighting in full compliance with international law and taking unprecedented measures to ensure aid reaches those in need.
Israel has accused Hamas of stealing aid, which Hamas strongly denies. Israel has also said any distribution problems within Gaza are the fault of the international agencies.
Even when children survive, nutrition experts say food deprivation in the early years can do lasting damage.
A child’s brain develops at its fastest rate in the first two years of life. So even if they don’t starve to death or die from illness due to their weakened immune system, children may face delays in growth and development, said Aashima Garg, adviser on nutrition at UNICEF for the Middle East and North Africa.
“While they may be alive, they may not thrive that well in childhood and beyond,” she said.
Three families in Gaza told Reuters about their day-to-day diets, and four global health experts explained how such deprivation affects the growing body. Damage done in weeks manifests over years, they said.
“It can have a long-term impact on their immune system, their ability to absorb good nutrition, and on their cognitive and physical development,” said Hannah Stephenson, global head of nutrition and health at Save The Children, a non-profit.
Gaza has the most households globally in the most extreme stage of food poverty, according to the IPC, which classifies levels of hunger in five categories, the worst of which is famine.
Households in North Gaza, where Majd lives, are already suffering a full-blown famine, Cindy McCain, Executive Director of the World Food Programme, said on May 5.
It can take months for the international measurement system to declare a famine. But the first damage to a child’s body is counted in days.
Nine out of 10 children aged 6 months to 2 years in Gaza live in severe child food poverty, a UNICEF survey in late May found. This means they are eating from two or fewer food groups a day, which UNICEF’s Garg said means grains or some form of milk.
This has been the case since December 2023, with only a slight improvement in April 2024, she said. As many as 85 percent of children of all ages did not eat for a whole day at least once in the three days before the survey was conducted.
The main cause of acute malnutrition in North Gaza is a lack of diversity in the diets of children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, according to a report in February 2024 from the Global Nutrition Cluster, a group of humanitarian agencies led by UNICEF.
This deficient intake, both prior to and during pregnancy and breastfeeding, harms both mothers and infants.
Abed Abu Mustafa, 49, a father of six, was still living in Gaza City in early April. He said people there already had eaten “almost every green plant we could find” and he hadn’t had meat or chicken for at least five months.
In Rafah in the south, Mariam, 33, a mother of five, has been living in a school along with two dozen of her relatives. She described a typical meal for her family before the conflict and what they are currently eating, shown below.
Before the war, Majd’s mother said an average family meal consisted of rice with chicken or meat, along with vegetables such as okra, cauliflower or peas. During the war, flour scarcity forced the family to make bread from animal feed. Recently, bread and canned goods like tuna and beans started to reappear, but these are not widely available.
Unable to find food to feed herself and forced to flee Israeli bombardment early in the war, Khateeb said she had found great difficulty in breastfeeding Majd.
She said she could find neither good quality baby formula nor clean water to mix it, so she fed him various types of powdered feed mixed with rainwater or brackish water from Gaza’s polluted wells, causing diarrhea.
“There is no chance to get proper food to have breastmilk, there is no meat, no proteins, no calcium, none of the elements that produce good milk for the child,” she said.
Garg, the UNICEF adviser, said the nutrition of breastfeeding mothers in Gaza was severely compromised, and with it their ability to produce milk.
“They are not eating fruits and vegetables. They are not eating meat. They are not having much milk,” she said. This lack of nutrients translates into poor quality breast milk. Diluted formula is not safe and risks diarrhea, which itself can be deadly.
Moderately malnourished mothers can still breastfeed, with their bodies effectively sacrificing their own nutritional needs to save the child. But severely malnourished women struggle.
Ahmed Al-Kahlout, the nurse who heads the unit, said Majd’s infection was due to malnutrition.
“There is no immunity, so any disease that the child catches in the shelters … afflicts the child with these severe lung infections,” he said.
Susceptibility to infections typically increases after two weeks with insufficient food.
The body’s consumption of its fat reserves eats away muscle tissue, which is why aid workers in the field use basic tape measures to assess the gravity of children’s conditions.
The tapes measuring Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) have been used for decades. If the upper arm’s circumference is 11.5 cm (4 1/2 inches) or smaller for a child between 6 months and 5 years old, the child is assessed as having severe acute malnutrition, according to standards drawn up by the United Nations.
MUAC screening data across Gaza since mid-January found more than 7,000 children aged 6 months to about 5 years were already acutely malnourished as of May 26, the United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA said.
This is how that looks.
Gaza has the most people at risk of starvation, but according to the IPC classifications, many millions are one step behind the enclave in food poverty.
The IPC categorizes the severity and scale of food insecurity and malnutrition. Readings of 3, 4 or 5 on the five-category scale require urgent action.
Households in Phase 3 are in “Crisis,” the IPC says. They have high or more than usual acute malnutrition, or can meet their minimum food needs but only by selling assets or through crisis measures.
Phase 4 is an “Emergency.” Households have either “very high” acute malnutrition and death rates or are only able to make up for the lack of food by taking emergency measures and selling assets.
Phase 5 is “Catastrophe” or “Famine.” Households have an extreme lack of food and/or other basic needs and starvation, death, destitution and extremely critical acute malnutrition levels are evident. An entire area is only classified as in Famine if high food insecurity comes with certain levels of acute malnutrition and mortality.
For the IPC, areas in Famine meet at least two of the following three criteria: * the area has at least 20 percent of households facing an extreme lack of food, * About one in three children there suffer from acute malnutrition, * Two adults or four children out of every 10,000 die each day due to outright starvation, or to the interaction of malnutrition and disease.

The IPC report issued in March projected that the entire population of the Gaza Strip would fall into Phases 3 to 5 between March and July. UN officials told Reuters they expect the next IPC analysis on Gaza to be released on June 25.
South Sudan and Mali are the other two other countries with households projected to fall into the same Phase 5 category as Gaza, based on the IPC’s latest published analyzes.
Overall, the three countries with the largest numbers of people at Phase 3 and above are Nigeria (25 million), Democratic Republic of Congo (23.4 million) and Sudan (17.7 million), according to the IPC website.
The IPC said its latest analysis of Sudan, conducted in December, was too outdated to include in the tables Reuters used for this chart.
As a consequence of severe malnutrition, various complications arise.
This is the impact of starvation after just three weeks. Like many children in Gaza, Majd’s lack of adequate food dates back months.

Mounting home demolitions and settler attacks plunge a Palestinian village into crisis

Mounting home demolitions and settler attacks plunge a Palestinian village into crisis
Updated 19 July 2024

Mounting home demolitions and settler attacks plunge a Palestinian village into crisis

Mounting home demolitions and settler attacks plunge a Palestinian village into crisis
  • Bedouin communities in the West Bank face a double threat of rampant, unpunished Israeli settler violence and a frenzy of state-backed demolitions
  • Threats are pushing a growing number of Bedouin from their land and making any eventual independent Palestinian state a more distant reality, rights groups say

UMM AL-KHAIR, West Bank: First came the Israeli military bulldozers, which tore down a quarter of the homes in the West Bank Bedouin village of Umm Al-Khair. Then came the settler attacks.
In the aftermath, dozens of people were left homeless and without consistent access to water and electricity. Several were injured from pepper spray and sticks, and the village’s water pipe was cut — all, they said, as Israeli soldiers looked on.
”Where shall I go?” said Yasser Hathaleen, sitting near the rubble of his family’s homes, exposed to the blazing heat of summer with little to protect him. “To whom do I complain? I want a law to protect me. Where are the people of law?”
Bedouin communities in the West Bank face a double threat of rampant, unpunished Israeli settler violence and a frenzy of state-backed demolitions. Together, the two are pushing a growing number of Bedouin from their land and making any eventual independent Palestinian state a more distant reality, rights groups say.
The threats have intensified since the start of the war in Gaza, as settler violence surges across the West Bank — even as Israel faces growing international pressure to clamp down. Settler advocates hold key Israeli Cabinet positions that grant them important say over the West Bank, giving settlers greater control over their destiny in the territory.
Residents describe the escalating attacks
Settler violence and demolitions are nothing new in Umm Al-Khair, founded in the 1950s by traditionally nomadic people known as Bedouin, who settled there just after being uprooted from the Negev desert during the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.
Two decades later, Umm Al-Khair fell under Israeli security control when Israel captured the West Bank. Though Palestinians seek the area as the heart of a future independent state, Israel has established a rash of settlements across the territory, viewed by the international community as illegal and an obstacle to peace.
Settler attacks, residents say, began in the 1980s, after Israel built the settlement of Carmel just meters away from Umm Al-Khair. Today, Carmel’s large houses and lush gardens sit across a barbed-wire fence from the village, whose pipes are not connected to the Israeli water network and whose homes of corrugated tin bake in the summer sun.
Settler attacks were sporadic but not debilitating, residents said, until settlers established an unauthorized outpost, called “Roots Farm,” on a nearby hilltop.
“Since then, this farm, their only goal is to target the community, to violate the people’s lives and to attack and insult people on a daily basis,” said 21-year-old Tariq Hathaleen, an English teacher in Umm Al-Khair. Most villagers bear the last name Hathaleen, all descendants of the village founder.
On July 1, in a particularly brutal recent attack described by residents and activists, settlers injured about 10 people in the village with sticks and pepper spray that made people’s eyes water.
“There were so many women on the ground, lying on the earth, struggling to breathe,” said Basel Adra, a Palestinian activist who was in Umm Al-Khair that day.
Videos taken by Palestinians in the village and sent to The Associated Press showed a man residents identified as the leader of the outpost clutching a rifle as he strides past Israeli soldiers into the village.
The military told AP the forces were there “to maintain the security of all residents of the area, and to act to prevent terrorism and activities that endanger the citizens of the State of Israel.”
In another video, taken July 3 by an Umm Al-Khair resident, young settlers are seen tampering with the village’s water pipes as soldiers look on. The military said soldiers helped repair the pipe soon after.
But residents said the pipe was damaged by settlers again days later, showing AP video of a settler near the freshly damaged pipe. When sent the video, the military told AP the pipe was damaged by erosion, not settlers.
To Tariq Hathaleen, the settlers and the state are working toward the same goal: expelling his community from their lands. Umm Al-Khair residents say they have lived there since they were expelled from the Negev during what’s referred to as the “Nakba” — Arabic for catastrophe — when roughly 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven out of what today is Israel.
The residents showed AP handwritten contracts appearing to show land sales from neighboring Palestinian towns to the founder of the village, Tariq’s grandfather, during the period when Jordan controlled the West Bank.
COGAT, the Israeli military body coordinating humanitarian aid efforts, did not respond to a request for comment on land ownership in the area.
“There’s no legal pretext for soldiers to remove us from our land. So what the settlers do is they make our life the most hard life, so we eventually leave on our own,” said Tariq Hathaleen.
Outposts and settlements are growing
As some settlers expand their network of unauthorized farming outposts atop West Bank hilltops — which rights groups say are the primary drivers of violence and displacement in the territory — others in Israel’s far-right government turbocharge settlement in the territory. In the last month alone, Israel’s government has legalized five formerly unauthorized settlements and made the largest land grab in the West Bank in three decades, declaring a wide swath of the territory state land.
Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, the UN says settler violence across the West Bank has displaced 1,260 Palestinians, including 600 children, from their homes in Bedouin villages such as Umm Al-Khair.
The UN documented 1,000 settler attacks in the West Bank in the nine months since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, averaging four attacks a day. That’s double the daily average during the same period last year, according to AIDA, a coalition of nonprofits and other groups working in the territory. The violence has killed 10 people in total, including two children, and has injured 234 people, the group says.
With the rapid and easy establishment of farming outposts, rights groups say, settlers can expand their control of the territory through violence, effectively pushing the prospect of a contiguous Palestinian state further from reach.
Outposts are now “one of the primary methods employed by Israel to take over areas in the West Bank and to expel Palestinian communities,” said a July report from Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
The crisis in the West Bank has reached such heights that Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, the outgoing Israeli general overseeing the territory, used his farewell speech July 8 to denounce settler violence.
“Under the auspices of the war, and the desire for revenge, it sowed chaos and fear in Palestinian residents who did not pose any threat,” he said. He accused settler leaders of not doing enough to halt the violence.
Legality of structures is disputed
Naomi Kahn, head of the international division at settler organization Regavim, describes Umm Al-Khair as an “illegal squatters camp” on land that belongs to Israel.
Following the recent round of demolitions, the Israeli military told AP that the structures were illegal and that their construction had been carried out “in complete violation of the law.”
Palestinians have long said that securing Israeli permission to build in the West Bank is nearly impossible.
“They knock down our homes, and then we rebuild,” shepherd Bilal Hathaleen said. “They come to knock them down again, so we will rebuild. We are not going anywhere.”

Tel Aviv blast leaves 1 dead, caused by ‘falling aerial target’

Tel Aviv blast leaves 1 dead, caused by ‘falling aerial target’
Updated 19 July 2024

Tel Aviv blast leaves 1 dead, caused by ‘falling aerial target’

Tel Aviv blast leaves 1 dead, caused by ‘falling aerial target’
  • Emergency services said the explosion took place around 0015 GMT in a building in the center of the city
  • Police and bomb disposal units were deployed to the scene and conducted searches for suspicious objects

TEL AVIV: An explosion in Tel Aviv early Friday left one person dead, an Israeli emergency services spokesperson said, with the army saying a falling “aerial target” caused the blast.

Emergency services said the explosion took place around 03:15 am (0015 GMT) in a building in the center of the city. Two people were lightly injured, Zaki Heller of the Magen David Adom medical service said.

An earlier police report had said seven people were injured, but they were mainly in a state of shock, Heller added.

The army said an initial inquiry showed that the explosion was “caused by the falling of an aerial target.”

“No sirens were activated,” it said in a statement, adding that the air force had “increased its air patrols in order to protect Israeli airspace.”

A resident of central Tel Aviv said he had been woken by a loud explosion.

“Everything shook,” he said.

Police found a body bearing injuries caused by shrapnel in the building, which is located on the corner of Ben-Yehuda Avenue and Shalom-Aleichem Street, not far from an annex of the US Embassy in Israel, spokesperson Dean Elsdunne said.

“It may have been an aerial explosion... We were very lucky,” said Peretz Amar, a Tel Aviv police commander at the scene, adding an investigation was “ongoing.”

“The police, along with emergency and rescue forces, discovered a man in his 50s in a nearby building who was found dead in his apartment, with shrapnel wounds on his body,” a police statement said.

Another 10 people with minor injuries were taken for medical treatment, it said.

Police and bomb disposal units were deployed to the scene and conducted searches for suspicious objects and additional threats, the statement added.

Residents were urged to “respect safety instructions and not to approach or touch debris or shrapnel that may contain explosives,” it said.

UN court opinion due on occupied Palestinian land

UN court opinion due on occupied Palestinian land
Updated 19 July 2024

UN court opinion due on occupied Palestinian land

UN court opinion due on occupied Palestinian land
  • Any opinion delivered by the International Court of Justice would be non-binding
  • But it comes amid mounting concern over Israel’s war against Hamas

THE HAGUE: The UN’s top court will on Friday hand down its view on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967, amid growing international pressure over the war in Gaza.
Any opinion delivered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be non-binding, but it comes amid mounting concern over Israel’s war against Hamas sparked by the group’s brutal October 7 attacks.
A separate high-profile case brought before the court by South Africa alleges that Israel has committed genocidal acts during its Gaza offensive.
Judges will read their findings at 1300 GMT at the opulent Peace Palace in The Hague, the home of the ICJ.
The UN’s General Assembly asked the ICJ in late 2022 to give an “advisory opinion” on the “legal consequences arising from the policies and practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”
The ICJ held a week-long session in February to hear submissions from countries following the request — supported by most countries within the Assembly.
Most speakers too during the hearings called on Israel to end its 57-year occupation. They warned a prolonged occupation posed an “extreme danger” to stability in the Middle East and beyond.
But the United States said Israel should not be legally obliged to withdraw without taking its “very real security needs” into account.
Israel did not take part in the oral hearings.
Instead, it submitted a written contribution in which it described the questions the court had been asked as “prejudicial” and “tendentious.”
The General Assembly has asked the ICJ to consider two questions.
Firstly, the court should examine the legal consequences of what the UN called “the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”
This relates to the “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967” and “measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.”
In June 1967, Israel crushed some of its Arab neighbors in a six-day war, seizing the West Bank including east Jerusalem from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt.
Israel then began to settle the 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) of seized Arab territory.
The UN later declared the occupation of Palestinian territory illegal, and Cairo regained Sinai under its 1979 peace deal with Israel.
The ICJ has also been asked to look into the consequences of what it described as Israel’s “adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”
Secondly, the ICJ should advise on how Israel’s actions “affect the legal status of the occupation” and what are the consequences for the UN and other countries.
The ICJ rules in disputes between states. Normally, its judgments are binding although it has little means to enforce them.
In this case however, the opinion it issues will be non-binding, although most advisory opinions are in fact acted upon.

Vessel hit by projectiles southeast of Yemen’s Aden, UKMTO and Ambrey say

Vessel hit by projectiles southeast of Yemen’s Aden, UKMTO and Ambrey say
Updated 19 July 2024

Vessel hit by projectiles southeast of Yemen’s Aden, UKMTO and Ambrey say

Vessel hit by projectiles southeast of Yemen’s Aden, UKMTO and Ambrey say
  • All crew are reported safe, UKMTO said in an advisory note

CAIRO: A vessel was hit by unknown projectiles 83 nautical miles southeast of Yemen’s Aden early on Friday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations and British security firm Ambrey said.

All crew were reported safe, UKMTO said in an advisory note, and Ambrey, in a separate advisory, said the vessel was a Singapore-flagged container ship.

“The ship was transiting northeast along the Gulf of Aden when a merchant vessel in the vicinity observed ‘light and blast’ where the ship was located,” Ambrey added.

The British security firm said the ship appeared to perform evasive maneuvers immediately and switch off her automatic identification system approximately an hour later.

Ambrey assessed the vessel to be aligned with the Houthi target profile.

Since November, Houthi militants in Yemen have launched drone and missile strikes in shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The group has said its actions are in solidarity with Palestinians affected by Israel’s war in Gaza.

Britain and the US have conducted retaliatory strikes since February, shooting down drones and bombing attack sites in Yemen.

Senior Hezbollah commander among 5 reported dead in Israel strikes on Lebanon

Senior Hezbollah commander among 5 reported dead in Israel strikes on Lebanon
Updated 19 July 2024

Senior Hezbollah commander among 5 reported dead in Israel strikes on Lebanon

Senior Hezbollah commander among 5 reported dead in Israel strikes on Lebanon
  • Hezbollah said two of its members were among the dead, including Ali Jaafar Maatouq, said to be a commander of the elite Al Radwan operational unit
  • A separate Israeli strike on Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley killed Mohamad Jbara, a commander of Jamaa Islamiya, a military group close to Hamas

BEIRUT: Israeli strikes on Thursday killed at least five people, including the commander of a Hamas-allied group in Lebanon, militant groups and a security source said.
Since Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel sparked war in Gaza, Israel has repeatedly targeted militants of Jamaa Islamiya, whose armed wing has launched attacks on Israel from southern Lebanon over the past nine months.
A Lebanese security source said that an Israeli strike on a house near the southern village of Jmaijmeh killed three people and wounded several more.
Hezbollah said two of its members were among the dead, including Ali Jaafar Maatouq. A source close to the Islamist group described him as a commander of its elite Al Radwan operational unit.
The Israeli army confirmed that its air force had "eliminated" Ali Jaafar Maatouq in a strike against "a command centre where Hezbollah terrorists were operating in the Jmaijmeh region".
Hezbollah earlier announced the death of another member in an Israeli raid in southern Lebanon. The Israeli army confirmed that it had killed him "in the Qana area", adding that he had been "involved in numerous attacks against Israel".
The army said it killed another Al Radwan commander in Majdal Selm, near Jmaijmeh, which was not immediately confirmed by Lebanese sources.

Jamaa Islamiya, a military group close to Hamas, said in a statement that its commander Mohamad Jbara had died in a "despicable Zionist raid" in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley.
Hamas's armed wing also announced Jbara's death and said he was one of its commanders.
Lebanon's state-run National News Agency said Jbara was killed when an "enemy drone" targeted his vehicle in the village of Ghazze.
The Israeli military said it "eliminated" Jbara in a strike, who was "responsible for carrying out terror attacks and missile launches" against Israel.
Jamaa Islamiya, formed in the 1960s, has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks against Israel, including joint operations with Hamas in Lebanon.
The cross-border violence since October has killed 516 people in Lebanon, according to an AFP tally. Most of the dead have been fighters, but they have also included at least 104 civilians.
On the Israeli side, 18 soldiers and 13 civilians have been killed, according to authorities.
The violence has raised fears of all-out conflict between the two foes, who last went to war in the summer of 2006.