Aroldo Lazaro Saenz, head of mission of the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL), warned on Friday that any further escalation in southern Lebanon could have devastating consequences.
“I am concerned by the ongoing intensification of the exchanges of fire along the Blue Line that has already claimed too many lives, caused significant damage, and jeopardized livelihoods,” he said in a statement posted on UNIFIL’s account on the social media platform X.
He called on warring parties to halt the “cycle of violence” and seek long-term solutions to deal with the root causes of conflict.
Earlier in the day, the humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, took effect in the besieged Gaza Strip. Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported that cautious calm prevailed on Friday along the southern Lebanese border, where tensions escalated between Israel and Hezbollah fighters soon after the Hamas Oct. 7 attacks on southern Israel.
Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite military group, fired dozens of rockets toward Shebaa Farms on Oct. 8 in support of the Hamas attacks on Israel the previous day, prompting the Israeli forces to respond by firing heavy artillery toward southeastern Lebanon.
According to Lebanese military sources, a total of 125 people have been killed in Lebanon since Oct. 8, including 86 Hezbollah members, 14 Hamas members and Islamic Jihad movements, a member of the Amal Movement, and 24 civilians.