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Israel Accused of Attacking UN Peacekeeping Patrol During Truce, Raising Concerns of Escalating Violence in Southern Lebanon

On Saterday, the Israeli military was accused by the United NAtions Interim Force in Lebanon of launching an assault on a peacekeeping patrol.

The incident, which took place during a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas, occurred at around midday, near the Lebanese village of Aytaroun on the border with Israel and 125 kilometers from the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

The incident took place during a time of relative peace and stability along the Blue Line, as reported by UNIFIL.

According to a statement released by UN peacekeepers, a patrol was struck by gunfire from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) at approximately 12 pm today in the area surrounding Aytaroun, located in southern Lebanon.

Since the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in October, the border between Israel and Lebanon has been the site of recurring clashes, primarily involving the Israeli military and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. According to AFP, these exchanges have resulted in the deaths of 109 individuals in LEbanon, including 77 Hezbollah fighters and 14 civilians, among whom were three 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 border.
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 United Nations peacekeeping operation issued a statement condemning the attack on Saturday, describing it as “extremely concerning” and appealing to all parties involved in the conflict to protect peacekeepers. Earlier in the week, UNIFIL cautioned that an increase in hostilities in southern Lebanon could have “catastrophic consequences” and urged all sides to break the 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.

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