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UN Concern: Hizbollah Attacks Israeli Retaliation

Lebanon: UN Envoy Concerned Over Hizbollah Attacks And Israeli Retaliation

Responding to exchanges of fire along the Israel-Lebanon withdrawal line, a United Nations envoy today called on the parties to avoid a further deterioration of the already tense situation.

Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon, released a statement in Beirut pointing to "repetitive and serious" violations of the Blue Line.

He noted that Hizbollah, using rockets and mortars, yesterday launched a "heavy attack" on Israeli military positions in the Shebaa farms area. This was immediately followed by "heavy retaliation" by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), which used aerial bombs, mortars, artillery and small arms fire. The fighting lasted for over two hours.

Mr. de Mistura voiced the UN's "deep concern regarding the attack by Hizbollah, launched at a time when regional tensions are already at a high point."

"Both Hizbollah's action and the Israeli response constitute grave breaches of the Blue Line and risk a further, dangerous escalation," he warned, calling on all parties to avoid further violations and to abide by their obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions.

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