U.N. military observers wounded while patrolling southern Lebanese border after shell explodes, officials say

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Fears of widening conflict in the Middle East


The fears of a widening conflict in the Middle East

02:07

Four United Nations military observers were wounded Saturday while patrolling the southern Lebanese border after a shell exploded near them, the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon said.

The military observers are part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, which supports the U.N. peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL.

Local Lebanese media, citing security officials, said an Israeli drone strike targeted the observers in the southern village of Wadi Katmoun near the border town of Rmeich. Hezbollah-run television station Al-Manar said the drone strike wounded three officers from Australia, Chile, and Norway, as well as a Lebanese interpreter.

The Israeli military on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, said: “Contrary to the reports, the IDF did not strike a @UNIFIL —vehicle in the area of Rmeish this morning.”

UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti said they are “investigating the origin of the explosion.”

“The targeting of peacekeepers is unacceptable,” Tenenti told The Associated Press. “We repeat our call for all actors to cease the current heavy exchanges of fire before more people are unnecessarily hurt.”

This came as clashes between the Israeli military and Hezbollah militants escalated in recent weeks. Both sides have been exchanging fire since the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza broke out, propelling concerns that the near-daily clashes along the border could escalate into a full-scale war as tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the violence.

UNIFIL was created to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon after Israel’s 1978 invasion. The U.N. expanded its mission following the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, allowing peacekeepers to deploy along the Israeli border to help the Lebanese military extend its authority into the country’s south for the first time in decades.

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