UN Security Council warns of a new Lebanon-Israel conflict
The UN Security Council warned on Tuesday that violations of the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel could lead to a new conflict "that none of the parties or the region can afford."
The council's warning came in a resolution adopted unanimously on Tuesday extending the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force that monitors the truce until August 31, 2017.
It maintained the mission's ceiling at 15,000 troops, supported by international and local civilian staff.
The council expressed concern "at the limited progress made towards the establishment of a permanent cease-fire."
It urged all parties "to make every effort to ensure that the cessation of hostilities is sustained, exercise maximum calm and restraint and refrain from any action or rhetoric that could jeopardize the cessation of hostilities or destabilise the region."
Israel occupied parts of Lebanon for 22 years until 2000, with Lebanon's Shia-dominated militia Hizballah claiming credit for its withdrawal following persistent guerrilla attacks. The two countries are still technically at war.
A 34-day conflict in 2006 led to the deaths of 1,200 people in Lebanon, mainly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
Hizballah fired thousands of rockets into northern Israel, while Israeli war planes heavily bombed Lebanon. The war ended with a ceasefire cemented by UN Security Council resolution 1701, which greatly expanded the international peacekeeping force.
The border has since been mostly calm, although there have been several deadly incidents and daily violations by Israeli airplanes and boats of Lebanon's sovereignty.