UN chief warns of escalating Israel-Hezbollah tensions, cites risk of regional disaster

UN chief warns of escalating Israel-Hezbollah tensions, cites risk of regional disaster

Shafaq News/ On Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed deep concern over escalating tensions between Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah, adding that UN peacekeeping forces are working to calm the situation and prevent miscalculations.

He told reporters, "One rash move, one miscalculation, could trigger a catastrophe that goes far beyond the border and frankly, beyond imagination."

"Let us be clear: The people of the region and the world cannot afford for Lebanon to become another Gaza," he continued.

"I feel compelled today to express my deep concern about the escalation between Israel and Hezbollah along the Blue Line," Guterres said, referring to the boundary drawn by the UN between Lebanon and Israel following the Israeli army's withdrawal in 2000.

"Escalation in the continuous exchange of shelling. Escalation in hostile rhetoric from both sides as if a full-scale war is imminent," he added.

Guterres warned that "the risk of widening conflict in the Middle East is real and must be avoided. Any irrational step, any miscalculation, could result in a disaster that extends far beyond borders, a disaster that is frankly unimaginable."

Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging fire almost daily since the war in Gaza began following the attack launched by Hamas on Israel on October 7. This shelling has intensified in recent weeks, with mutual threats raising fears of a regional war.

Hezbollah announced on Thursday that it had shelled a military site in northern Israel (Occupied Palestine) with "dozens of Katyusha rockets" in "response" to the killing of one of its fighters in an Israeli airstrike in the town of Deir Kifa in southern Lebanon.

The Israeli army announced in a statement that one of its aircraft "carried out a precise strike in the Deir Kifa area in southern Lebanon," killing a Hezbollah member "responsible for planning and executing attacks against Israel and leading Hezbollah ground forces" in Jouaiya in southern Lebanon.

On Wednesday, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned that no place in Israel "would be safe" from his fighters' rockets in the event of war, amid fears of an escalating conflict between Hezbollah and Israel against the backdrop of the ongoing war in Gaza. He said, "The enemy knows well that we have prepared ourselves for the worst days," adding, "It should expect us on land, sea, and air."

Nasrallah's statements came after the Israeli army announced on Tuesday the "approval" of operational plans for an attack in Lebanon. Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz threatened Hezbollah on Tuesday with destruction in the event of a "full-scale war."

So far, approximately 400 Hezbollah members have been killed in Israeli attacks in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah mourns all its members killed by Israel under the slogan: "on the path to Jerusalem" since October 2023, in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza who have been subjected to Israeli aggression for seven months.

Conversely, the group has targeted Israel with heavy missiles, resulting in the deaths and wounding of soldiers and the destruction of hundreds of military telecommunication towers, as well as dropping drones.

Israel remains highly secretive about its losses with Hezbollah, but all settlements in the northern region are devoid of residents, who have either fled elsewhere or sought refuge in shelters. There is also an internal Israeli conflict over the escalating tensions with Hezbollah, given the group's possession of an arsenal of up to 100,000 missiles, including those capable of reaching Tel Aviv, as stated by Sayyed Nasrallah.

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