Lebanon and Israel should maintain active engagement

The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon called upon Lebanon and Israel to maintain their active engagement with the peacekeepers in order to prevent escalation of tensions.

“We must continue our close engagement to ensure the Blue Line is not held hostage to the complex dynamics and numerous events occurring outside UNIFIL’s area of operations,” Del Col, commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), was quoted as saying by a UNIFIL statement.

His comments came during a regular tripartite meeting with senior officers from the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at the UN position in Ras Al Naqoura, it said.

Del Col underlined the dangerous potential of the latest developments that included a breach in the cessation of hostilities in UNIFIL’s area of operation.

This, he warned, could have resulted in an uncontrollable escalation of violence.

Tensions have escalated in the past week between Lebanon and Israel after a series of airstrikes conducted on Aug. 24 by Israel in Syria, killing two Hezbollah fighters. It was followed by an attack on Aug. 25 by two Israeli drones on Beirut’s southern suburbs.

These attacks prompted Hezbollah to retaliate a week later by destroying an Israeli military vehicle in northern Israeli town of Avivim, by firing anti-tank rockets.

Israeli tanks then shelled Hezbollah posts near the Lebanese village of Maroun al-Ras, from which the missile was launched.

The UNIFIL, established in 1978 following the Israeli-Lebanon conflict, is tasked with maintaining peace and security along the Israeli-Lebanon border.