Home News UN chief warns of risk of wider war between Israel and Hezbollah

UN chief warns of risk of wider war between Israel and Hezbollah


“The risk of a wider conflict in the Middle East is real and must be avoided,” the UN chief warned on Friday, following months of escalating violence on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters in New York that “one reckless move” by Israel or Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Lebanese group allied with Hamas fighters in Gaza targeting Israel, could unleash “a catastrophe that goes far beyond our borders and, frankly, beyond what people imagine.”

For months, world leaders have tried to calm tensions between Israel and Hezbollah and prevent an all-out war. But instead of abating, the conflict has intensified with attacks and counterattacks across the border — and rhetoric from leaders on both sides has grown increasingly belligerent in recent days, prompting Guterres to express what he called “deep concern” that an all-out war would break out.

“Many lives have been lost, tens of thousands have been displaced, and homes and livelihoods have been destroyed,” Mr. Guterres said, adding: “The people of the region and the world cannot allow Lebanon to become another Gaza.”

Since the Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7, Hezbollah has been engaged in a firefight with Israeli forces that has killed more than 100 civilians in Israel and Lebanon and displaced more than 150,000 people. The fighting has also sparked forest fires on both sides of the border.

The Israeli military said in a statement on Friday that it had “successfully intercepted a suspicious aerial target flying from Lebanese territory” and that it had “spotted multiple missiles flying from Lebanon into several areas in northern Israel.” The Israeli military said it launched artillery strikes and aircraft strikes against “terrorist targets” in four areas in southern Lebanon on Friday, including Hezbollah military facilities, and said that “all night” Israeli fighter jets “struck Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said In a post on social media “Israel cannot allow the Hezbollah terrorist organization to continue its attacks on its territory and citizens, and we will make the necessary decisions soon,” he said on Friday, adding that “the free world must stand unconditionally with Israel” against Iran and the militant groups it supports.

“Our war is your war too,” he said.

Katz’s comments were apparently a response to Lebanese militia leader Hassan Nasrallah, who said on Wednesday that Israel “would have nowhere to hide from our missiles and drones” if all-out war broke out.

Nasrallah also threatened to drag Cyprus into the conflict if it allowed Israel to use its airports and bases in a wider regional war. Cyprus and Israel have a bilateral defense agreement and the two countries have conducted joint exercises in the past. But Cypriot President Nicos Christoudoulis said his country was “absolutely not involved in any way.” Comments on social media.

Nasrallah’s threat validates the concerns of world leaders trying to contain the conflict, highlighting how quickly the fighting could escalate and expand further. President Biden, hoping to defuse the long-simmering conflict, sent one of his top aides, Amos Hochstein, to Israel on Monday and to Lebanon on Tuesday to urge a diplomatic solution.

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