Gunfire from ‘Unidentified Source’ Hits Peacekeeper in South Lebanon, Says UN

Cross-border tensions between Hezbollah and Israel have increased as fighting continues in the south with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. (Image: AFP/File)

The statement from the UN did not indicate if the incident was linked to ongoing exchanges of fire on the Lebanese border, mainly between Hezbollah and Israel, since the Hamas attack on October 7

The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon said gunfire from an unidentified source hit a member of its contingent early Sunday, adding that the peacekeeper was in a stable condition. The statement from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) did not indicate whether the incident was linked to ongoing exchanges of fire on the Lebanese border, mainly between Hezbollah and Israel, since a Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 triggered war.

“Shortly after midnight last night, peacekeepers in a UNIFIL position near Al-Qawzah reported hearing gunfire nearby,” force spokesperson Andrea Tenenti said in a statement.

“One peacekeeper was hit by a bullet and underwent surgery. He is recovering and currently stable,” the statement said, adding that the origin of the fire was unknown and the force had launched an investigation.

Late last month, shelling lightly wounded a UN peacekeeper near the border village of Hula, just hours after UNIFIL said a shell hit its headquarters in Naqura near the Israel-Lebanon border. “Attacks against civilians or UN personnel are violations of international law that may amount to war crimes,” the UNIFIL statement said.

“We continue to urge all parties involved to cease their fire,” it added.

On Sunday morning, Lebanon’s official National News Agency (NNA) said Israeli aircraft and drones had carried out raids on border areas and also reported artillery shelling after midnight targeting sites including near Al-Qawzah, where the peacekeeper was wounded. It said an Israeli drone strike targeted near a restaurant in the Tal Nahas area, without reporting casualties.

Since Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon’s southern border has seen intensifying tit-for-tat exchanges, mainly between Israel and Hezbollah, an ally of the Palestinian group, stoking fears of a broader conflagration.

Israeli fire, some on targets in Syria, has killed at least 70 Hezbollah fighters since hostilities broke out, according to an AFP tally based on statements from the group. At least 12 other combatants have also been killed, as well as 11 civilians in Lebanon including a Reuters journalist. At least six soldiers and two civilians have been killed on the Israeli side.

Israeli officials say Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people and took some 240 hostage in the October 7 attacks that triggered the war. Israel’s subsequent aerial and ground offensive has killed more than 11,000 people in Gaza, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)

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