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UN official calls for de-escalation of tensions in southern Lebanon

 UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon Imran Riza on Friday called for a de-escalation of tensions in southern Lebanon as the repercussions on civilians are heavy amid limited aid by international organizations.

A UN statement quoted Riza as calling for “a de-escalation of tensions and an end to hostilities” in southern Lebanon.

“I strongly renew my call to uphold international humanitarian law and safeguard civilians, medical personnel, residences, schools, and healthcare centers. Constant care must be taken to spare them,” he said.

He reaffirmed the UN and its partners’ commitment to deliver emergency relief and protection to civilians in need wherever they are.

He gave an overview of the situation after he visited southern areas of Lebanon, saying the economic crisis exacerbated the situation, leaving people without savings and food.

According to Riza, over 86,000 persons have been displaced since the escalation of hostilities, with some 60,000 persons remaining in border villages highly affected by exchanges of fire.

At least 25 civilians have been killed, and there has been significant damage inflicted upon health centers, essential civilian infrastructure, residential houses, and agricultural lands, he added.

The Lebanon-Israel border witnessed increased tension since Oct. 8 after Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets toward Israel in support of the Hamas attacks on Israel the previous day, prompting Israel to respond by firing heavy artillery toward southeastern Lebanon.

The confrontations between Hezbollah and Israel have killed 230 on the Lebanese side, including 164 Hezbollah members and 39 civilians, according to Lebanese security sources. ■

Famagusta Gazette