UN concerned over Lebanon-Israel escalation, calls for calm
The United Nations expressed its concern on Friday over recent escalation between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, after the Shia paramilitary group responded to Israeli raids with dozens of missiles.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a statement expressed his "deep concern over the recent escalation between Lebanon and Israel across the Blue Line, including the firing of missiles at the latter and the return of air strikes and artillery fire on the former".
Guterres called on all parties to exercise maximum restraint, stressing the need to avoid actions that could exacerbate tensions.
In what has since become the largest flare-up between Hezbollah and Israel since the 2006 Lebanon War, on Friday morning Hezbollah claimed responsibility for launching at least ten rockets into Israel, prompting the Jewish state to then strike targets in southern Lebanon.
In a statement released to international media, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) – which operate south of the Litani River - condemned the escalation, stating it was a "very serious situation".
For its part, the United States asked the Lebanese authorities to prevent Hezbollah militants from firing rockets and "encouraged all efforts to maintain calm".
Israel – the number one recipient of US military aid - had called on Washington to intervene.