UN urges ‘restraint’ following Lebanon border incident

January 4, 2016  

UNIFIL, the UN’s peacekeeping force in Lebanon, on Monday urged Israel and Lebanon to “exercise utmost restraint” after Hezbollah detonated an explosive device near IDF troops in Har Dov in northern Israel, prompting the IDF to return fire.

In a statement issued by her office, the Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, expressed concern over the attack on the IDF convoy in the Shebaa Farms area, and subsequent IDF shelling into Lebanon.

According to the statement, in discussions with the parties, including regional stakeholders, Kaag stressed the risks posed to the stability of Lebanon. She also highlighted the danger of miscalculation which could lead to a deterioration of the situation on the ground.

She urged all parties to fulfill their obligations under UN resolution 1701, which imposed a ceasefire and brought an end to the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and to refrain from any acts or rhetoric which could undermine stability across the Blue Line.

“The need of the time is to maintain security vigil and to exercise utmost restraint against any provocation,” UNIFIL Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano said, noting that UNIFIL has further reinforced its presence on the ground and intensified patrols across the area of operations in coordination with the Lebanese army.

“General calm has been restored in the area and the parties have reassured me of their continued commitment to maintain the cessation of hostilities in accordance with resolution 1701,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, filed an official complaint with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council following the border incident.

“This is a blatant violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701,” Danon charged, adding that “the UN must condemn the terror attacks against Israel and demand Lebanon stop all terrorist activity coming from its territory.”

Danon stressed that Israel will not accept an attack on its sovereignty and will act on all fronts against those who us violence against it.

Monday’s incident was not the first one near the Israel-Lebanon border. Last month, three rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards Israel and Israel retaliated with eight rounds of 120mm mortar.

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