UNIFIL head warns of 'concerning shift' in Israel-Hezbollah hostilities

UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Aroldo Lázaro on Tuesday sounded the alarm that over the past days there has been “a concerning shift in the exchanges of fire” between Israel and Hezbollah.

“This conflict has already claimed too many lives and caused significant damage to houses and public infrastructure. It has jeopardized the livelihoods and changed the life of tens of thousands of civilians on both sides of the Blue Line. Yet we now see an expansion and intensification of strikes,” Lázaro said in a statement distributed by UNIFIL.

He added: “In recent days, we have continued our active engagement with the parties to decrease tensions and prevent dangerous misunderstandings, but recent events have the potential to put at risk a political solution to this conflict.”

Moreover, Lázaro urged all parties involved to “halt hostilities to prevent further escalation” and “leave space to a political and diplomatic solution that can bring back stability and ensure the safety of the people in this region.”

The cross-border violence has killed at least 284 people in southern Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 44 civilians. On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed, according to the army.

The fighting has also displaced tens of thousands of residents on both sides of the border and Israel has repeatedly warned that it might use bigger force against Hezbollah to secure its residents' return.

Source: Naharnet

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