• Naqoura

  • Thursday, January 18, 2024 at 5:07 AM
    Last Update : Monday, January 29, 2024 at 6:40 AM

UNIFIL Spokesman to AWP: Situation on Lebanon-Israel Border is “Very Concerning”

(AWP) - The spokesman for the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said that the current situation in southern Lebanon is “very concerning” amidst the continuous daily exchange of fire across the border with Israel since the outbreak of the Israeli war on Gaza on October 7.

In an exclusive interview with AWP, Spokesman Andrea Tenenti confirmed that the UNFIL forces have not left their bases despite being affected by the exchange of shelling between the Israeli army and the Hezbollah group in southern Lebanon.

Tenenti told AWP, “The situation in the area of operation has been tense for the last three months, over three months, from the beginning of October, and very concerning for the mission. What is happening at the moment is daily exchanges of fire along the Blue Line. This, as I said, has been very concerning for the mission, for our troops on the ground, and of course has been affecting the troops on the ground.”

Tenenti affirmed that the UNIFIL mission will continue despite the circumstances and impact on its troops and bases.

He said, “Of course, the shelling has been affecting the troops on the ground in terms of operational activities. We are still operational on the ground. We are still carrying out a large number of operations and also assistance with communities, but of course we also have to make sure that we need to take care of the security and safety of our troops on the ground when there is active shelling.”

The UN official revealed that the head of the UNIFIL mission “has been in touch and he is in constant touch with the parties to try to diffuse tension, de-escalate the tension and also prevent misunderstanding. UNIFIL mission is the only organisation at the moment that has the capability of keeping relations and communication channels open with both, the Israeli defence forces and with the Lebanese army and the Lebanese authorities.”

“Most of our bases have been hit by some of this ammunition or shrapnel or rockets. Our three peacekeepers got injured, luckily lightly injured. But of course, it [the shelling] has an effect. It has an effect on the work that we are carrying out on daily basis and our bases were impacted by the firing and the shelling from these continuous exchanges of fire.”

The fighting has killed and injured civilians on both sides of the border and raised concerns about the potential for a wider conflict.