April 16, 2024

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United Nations observers were injured in an explosion while on patrol in southern Lebanon  News of the Israeli war on Gaza

United Nations observers were injured in an explosion while on patrol in southern Lebanon News of the Israeli war on Gaza

The United Nations mission in Lebanon says targeting peacekeepers is “unacceptable,” while the Israeli army denies striking the area.

Three UN military observers and a Lebanese translator were injured while patrolling the border in southern Lebanon when a shell exploded near them, the UN peacekeeping mission said.

The explosion occurred in the village of Rmeish, located on the Israeli-Lebanese border, on Saturday.

The observers are part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), which supports the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL.

UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said in a statement that three “military observers from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization and a Lebanese language assistant during a foot patrol along the Blue Line were injured when an explosion occurred near their location.”

Tenenti added that “the wounded were evacuated to receive medical treatment” and that UNIFIL was “investigating the origin of the explosion.”

“The safety and security of UN personnel must be ensured,” the statement said, urging “all parties to cease the current violent exchange of fire before more people are unnecessarily injured.”

A statement by the Truce Supervision Organization added, “Targeting peacekeeping forces is unacceptable.”

The Israeli army and the Lebanese Hezbollah group, an ally of Hamas, have exchanged fire almost daily across the border since October, when the current conflict in Gaza began.

“All actors have a responsibility under international humanitarian law to ensure protection for non-combatants, including peacekeepers, journalists, medical personnel and civilians,” the Truce Supervision Organization said. “We reiterate our call on all parties to stop the current violent exchange of fire before more people are needlessly harmed.”

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Two security sources told Reuters news agency that the observers were injured in an Israeli raid, and the National News Agency in Lebanon said that “the enemy [Israeli] A drone strike on the Rmeish area.

But the Israeli army denied targeting the area. “Contrary to reports. [Israeli military] No UNIFIL vehicle was bombed in the Rmeish area this morning.”

UN staff 'targeted'

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khader said in a report from Beirut that the UN observers and its translator were “near the Blue Line, the border between Lebanon and Israel” when the explosion occurred.

She added that the incident is “another dangerous development in the raging conflict, which has now entered its sixth month, between Israel and Hezbollah.”

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati spoke with UNIFIL Commander Aroldo Lozaro and condemned the “targeting” of UN staff, according to a statement issued by his office.

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry said the attack “violates international law.”

The Israeli bombing of Lebanon killed approximately 270 Hezbollah fighters, but also killed about 50 civilians – including children, medics and journalists – and wounded UNIFIL and Lebanese army forces.

In November, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said that one of its patrols was targeted by Israeli fire in southern Lebanon, but there were no casualties.

UNIFIL said last month that the Israeli army violated international law by opening fire on a group of clearly identifiable journalists, leading to the death of a Reuters journalist.

UNIFIL was formed in 1978 to monitor the withdrawal of Israeli forces after they invaded Lebanon in response to a Palestinian attack.

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It was strengthened after the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006, and its peacekeeping forces, numbering about 10,000 soldiers, were assigned to monitor the ceasefire between the two sides.