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UN peacekeepers claim attack by Israel

The incident occurred in southern Lebanon during a period of “relative calm”

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon has accused the Israeli military of attacking a peacekeeping patrol on Saturday, during a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas.

The incident reportedly occurred at around midday, near the Lebanese village of Aytaroun, on the border with Israel and 125 kilometers from the Lebanese capital, Beirut. According to UNIFIL, it was “during a period of relative calm along the Blue Line.”

“Today at around 12 pm, a UNIFIL patrol was hit by IDF gunfire in the vicinity of Aytaroun, in southern Lebanon,” the UN peacekeepers said in a statement on their X (formerly Twitter) page, adding that no peacekeepers were injured, but the shelling caused damage to their vehicle.

Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October, the Israel-Lebanon border has seen frequent exchanges of fire, mainly between the IDF and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. According to AFP news agency, the cross-border fire has killed 109 people in Lebanon, including 77 Hezbollah fighters and 14 civilians, three of whom were journalists.

Last month UNIFIL, which was created by the UN Security Council in 1978 to observe Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, said that one of its members was injured in an artillery strike on the mission’s base near the village of Houla on the Lebanese-Israeli border.

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Following the announcement of the four-day Gaza truce on Friday, Hezbollah said it would adhere to the terms of the ceasefire if Israel did, according to a Hezbollah source cited by Al Jazeera.

The UN peacekeeping mission strongly condemned Saturday’s attack, calling it “deeply troubling” and urging all sides in the conflict to “safeguard peacekeepers.” UNIFIL warned on Friday that further escalation in southern Lebanon could result in “devastating consequences,” and urged all sides to “halt this cycle of violence.”

Israel has not yet commented on the incident. Previously, the IDF stated that it was striking targets belonging to Hezbollah in response to rockets fired into northern Israel.

November 26, 2023 at 11:45AM

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