BEIRUT (Agencies): Tensions persist along Lebanon’s southern border as clashes between the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Israeli army show no signs of abating, despite a plea for calm by US envoy Amos Hochstein.
Hochstein conveyed the US’s earnest desire to prevent the Gaza Strip conflict from spreading further and emphasized the critical importance of restoring peace along the Lebanon-Israel border in discussions with Lebanese officials.
Regrettably, military operations appeared to escalate late on Tuesday after the US envoy’s departure from Beirut. At least 10 Israeli air raids were carried out on Lebanese border areas, primarily targeting the Marjayoun Plain.
MP Hadi Abu Al-Hassan from the Progressive Socialist Party expressed the view that Hochstein’s message should have been directed towards Israel rather than Lebanon. He called for Israel to halt its daily bombings and violations of Lebanese sovereignty.
Abu Al-Hassan explained that his party’s communication with Hezbollah and other groups aims to prevent a larger conflict, ensuring that the situation remains under control within certain parameters. Leaked reports to the Lebanese media revealed that Hochstein informed Lebanese parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri of Washington’s readiness to resolve the border dispute between Lebanon and Israel once hostilities cease.
Hochstein emphasized US support for the Lebanese army and the importance of preventing rocket launches from the UNIFIL forces’ operational area.
The US Embassy released a statement underscoring Hochstein’s deep concern for Lebanon and its people during this challenging period, offering condolences for civilian casualties.
On Wednesday, Hezbollah launched missile attacks on Israeli military installations, including the Al-Bayyad and Al-Asi sites. In response, the Israeli army shelled villages and towns, while continuing to employ fragmentation bombs to set fire to forests near Halta and Kfar Shuba.
Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, a member of Hezbollah’s Central Council, warned of a harsher response without hesitation or delay to any attacks on civilians. Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, is scheduled to deliver a second speech in a week on Saturday, linking the group’s increased involvement in the conflict to developments in Gaza and Israeli actions against Lebanon.
However, 48 hours after Nasrallah’s initial speech, Israel targeted paramedics inside two ambulances, injuring four individuals. On the same day, a drone strike destroyed two civilian cars, resulting in the tragic deaths of three children and their grandmother, with their mother, who was driving, sustaining serious injuries.
The conflict has taken a toll, with more than 60 Hezbollah fighters losing their lives since October 8 and the civilian death toll reaching 10. Simultaneously, the Lebanese Army Intelligence Service’s Tripoli Port Security Office announced the seizure of a shipment of military equipment originating in Turkey and the arrest of one person.