Israel-Hezbollah tensions: Lebanon cannot become another Gaza, says UN chief Guterres

The UN is working to calm the situation, he added

Israel-Lebanon tensions United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres | Reuters

Amid the escalating tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday said that Lebanon cannot become another Gaza.

Guterres expressed his profound concerns regarding the intensifying Israel-Lebanon tensions. He said that the UN is working to calm the situation.

While speaking to the reporters, Guterres said "One rash move – one miscalculation - could trigger a catastrophe that goes far beyond the border, and frankly, beyond imagination."

"Let's be clear: The people of the region and the people of the world cannot afford Lebanon to become another Gaza," he added.

Since the Gaza war erupted in October, Hezbollah has been attacking Israel in solidarity with the Hamas. Thousands of people, especially in the border regions had fled due to the intensified attacks.

With Hezbollah’s new threat of waging another war, people are gripped with fear and concerns. Tens of thousands of Lebanese have fled their homes following Israeli strikes in south Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Iran's mission to the UN said on Friday that Hezbollah has the capability to defend itself and Lebanon against Israel, warning that "perhaps the time for the self-annihilation of this illegitimate regime has come". "Any imprudent decision by the occupying Israeli regime to save itself could plunge the region into a new war," Iran's UN mission posted on X.

"UN peacekeepers are on the ground working to de-escalate tensions and help prevent miscalculation," Guterres said."The world must say loudly and clearly: immediate de-escalation is not only possible it is essential," he added.

The US has also urged Israel to avoid further escalation in Lebanon. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday told Israeli officials of the need to avoid further escalation in Lebanon amid the war in Gaza.

New Hezbollah threats

The recent Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s threat to Cyprus has sent waves of uncertainty in the country. Nasrallah in its threat told the Middle-East country not to allow Israel's military to use its airports on the island to bomb Lebanon should a full-blown war break out between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Over 400 people, including civilians, have died along the Lebanon-Israel border since the Gaza war began last year.

With the recent killing of Hezbollah’s most senior commander by Israel, the tensions have intensified. Hezbollah retaliated by firing hundreds of rockets into northern Israel.

Cyprus and Lebanon have had close and historic relations for decades and the island became a refuge for thousands of Lebanese who resided on the island during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war. Following the economic meltdown in Lebanon in late 2019 too many Lebanese citizens moved to Cyprus.

(With agencies inputs)

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