UN Force Conducts Intensive Patrols Along Lebanon-Israel Border Amid Rocket Exchanges
The UN force in Lebanon has increased its patrols along the southern border of the country following hours of rocket exchanges between Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters. Correspondents in the southern region reported that Israeli soldiers were on high alert on the other side of the border, while the Lebanese army deployed from the Lebanese side.
Tensions have led to the displacement of more people from the border area towards cities such as Sidon, Beirut, and the Bekaa region. Israeli jets have also been intruding into Lebanese airspace. As a result, all public and private schools located south of the Litani Line, particularly in Tyre and Bint Jbeil districts, have been closed. The Lebanese University has also announced the closure of all its branches in the south due to the tense security situation on the southern border.
Hezbollah has officially mourned the loss of three of its members who were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the outskirts of Marwahin, Boustane, az Zallutiyya, Yarine, Naqoura, and the town of Ayta ash Shab in the Bint Jbeil district. This came after a group from Hezbollah launched an attack on Israeli Pranit barracks and Avivim barracks with guided missiles and mortar shells. Hezbollah reported inflicting human losses on the Israeli army.
The situation has caused a rush of residents to gas stations, shopping centers, and warehouses to stock up on supplies amid fears that the confrontations on the border could escalate into a battle that spills over into the Lebanese interior.
In an effort to contain any repercussions from the events in the Gaza Strip, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri held a meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea. Mikati has called for a Cabinet session to discuss the security situation in the country and the measures taken. He has also held talks with the country’s top military officials.
The British Foreign Ministry, through its embassy in Lebanon, has advised travel to Lebanon only when necessary and warned against going to certain areas south of the Litani River, including the Naqoura-Tyre-Sidon-Beirut Highway and the areas west of it. They have also advised against going to the Hermel area, including the cities of Arsal, Ras Baalbek, Qaa, Labweh, and Nahle, as well as the Palestinian refugee camps or within five kilometers of the border with Syria. British Ambassador Hamish Cowell stressed the importance of Lebanon not being drawn into the conflict and remaining distant from it.
A political observer has expressed concerns about Lebanon being involved in a new war with Israel, stating that Lebanon and its economy cannot bear the repercussions. The observer believes that the tensions on the southern Lebanese border are aimed at alleviating pressure on the Gaza front and that Lebanon should remain distant from the conflict to avoid chaos and social repercussions.
The Lebanese Kataeb Party has also warned against Lebanon sliding into a new war, stating that it is unnecessary and serves a plan aimed at stabilizing power equations in the region. The party emphasized that Hezbollah or any Palestinian factions cannot speak on behalf of Lebanon in war or peace, as this decision belongs to the Lebanese state and its institutions.
In addition, the Lebanese Press Editors Syndicate has condemned the attack on Al Arabiya reporter Mahmoud Shukr while he was covering the events in southern Lebanon. The syndicate also condemned the targeting of journalists, media personnel, and photographers as they perform their professional duty in covering the events of the Gaza Strip.
The situation along the Lebanon-Israel border remains tense, with both sides on high alert. The UN force’s intensive patrols aim to maintain stability and prevent further escalation of violence. It is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize diplomacy and dialogue to de-escalate tensions and avoid a full-blown conflict that could have devastating consequences for Lebanon and the region as a whole.