UN warns of ‘miscalculation’ in Israel-Hezbollah clashes

Hezbollah and Israel have been engaged in tit-for-tat clashes since 8 October [Getty]

UN officials are warning that the current round of fighting between the Israeli army and Hezbollah has increased the prospect of a “miscalculation”, as fears of a wider war between the two increases.

The officials, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jeanine Hennis Plasschaert and UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Lt. Gen. Aroldo Lazaro, called for armed actors on the Israel-Lebanon border to “put down their weapons and commit to a path of peace”.

“The danger of miscalculation leading to a sudden and wider conflict is very real, and we continue to engage with the parties and urge all actors to cease their fire and commit to working towards a political and diplomatic solution – which is the only lasting solution.”

The statement, which accompanied an Eid al-Adha message, comes amid an escalation in fighting on the Israel-Lebanon border between Israel and Hezbollah.

Following an airstrike that killed high-ranking Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdallah on Tuesday, Hezbollah vowed to increase the intensity of its rocket and drone attacks against northern Israel.

The result has been an both the enlargement in the arsenal of rockets used against Israeli military positions, and in quantity, with hundreds of rockets, drones and anti-tank missiles being fired on Wednesday into northern Israel.

Additionally, amid the summer heat, strikes by both sides have caused large scale fires to break out across the region, some taking days to put out. Hezbollah rockets and drones have also been fired deeper into Israel.

The strikes have added weight to discussions within Israel around whether the military should invade South Lebanon and create a buffer on the lines of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Daniel Hagari, the Israeli army spokesperson, said in an update on Saturday that “we constantly assess the situation and make decisions with discretion and responsibility”.

“We are determined and willing to do whatever it takes to change the security reality in the north, and we will not allow a return to what was before October 7,” he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that the military was ready with an “extremely powerful” response to Hezbollah, while National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has publicly called for an outright war with the group.

On Saturday Defence Minister Yoav Gallant rejected a French proposal to mediate and find a peaceful solution to the escalation.

Israel and Hezbollah have been trading fire on the border since 8 October following Hamas’ 7 October attack on southern Israel and the outbreak of Israel’s war on Gaza.

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