April 13, 2024

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United Nations observers were injured in a bombing in southern Lebanon

United Nations observers were injured in a bombing in southern Lebanon

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Rmeish village in Lebanon

The United Nations peacekeeping mission said that three United Nations observers and a translator were injured in a bombing in Rmeish, southern Lebanon.

The official Lebanese News Agency reported that an Israeli drone strike was behind the explosion, but the Israeli army denied responsibility.

The United Nations Mission (UNIFIL) said that the injured were receiving treatment and that it was investigating the source of the explosion.

This comes after escalating tensions along the unofficial border between Israel and Lebanon.

UNIFIL said in a statement that a shell exploded near the group that was conducting a foot patrol along the Blue Line drawn by the United Nations that separates southern Lebanon from Israel.

She described the targeting of peacekeepers as “unacceptable.”

UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti told the BBC that sites deep inside Lebanon were increasingly being chosen as targets, which “could lead to a much broader conflict.”

No details were provided about the nationality or status of the observers. It is reported that the condition of the Lebanese translator is stable.

Lebanon's National News Agency said that Israeli “hostile drones” raided the area in southern Lebanon, where the observers were injured.

The IDF denied this, saying in a statement: “Contrary to reports, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] No UNIFIL vehicle was bombed in the Rmeish area this morning.”

In recent days, tensions have risen again along the unofficial border between Israel and Lebanon, with casualties on both sides.

Tenenti, of UNIFIL, told the BBC's Newshour program that targeted and deadly bombing was now happening “a long way beyond the Blue Line” in Lebanon.

Israel and the armed group Hezbollah exchange attacks on an almost daily basis across the border, which began with the beginning of the war between Israel and Gaza following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shiite militant group with close ties to Iran and an ally of Hamas.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant said on Friday that the Israeli army would increase its attacks against the group in Lebanon, “switching from repelling to actively pursuing Hezbollah.”

He added: “Wherever they are hiding, we will reach them.”

Meanwhile, Israel came under pressure from the United States after it said it “cannot support” a large-scale ground offensive expected in Rafah on Gaza's border with Egypt, where more than a million displaced people are.

The administration of US President Joe Biden is raising concerns about the high number of civilian deaths in Gaza and the arrival of humanitarian aid to the Strip, which the United Nations says is on the verge of famine.

The Israeli army admitted on Saturday to killing two Palestinian men and burying their bodies with a bulldozer in “two different incidents” in Gaza.

This comes after Al Jazeera published an edited video purportedly showing the incident on Wednesday. The BBC has not independently verified the video.

The Israeli army said the two men approached its forces in a “suspicious manner” and did not respond to a warning shot.

The Israeli army added that they were killed and buried by a bulldozer due to fears that the men were carrying explosives.

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