Written by 22:24 World

UN Chief Warns Israel and Hezbollah of the Risk of a Wider War

After months of escalating violence along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, the chief of the United Nations warned on Friday that “the risk for the conflict in the Middle East to widen is real — and must be avoided.”

Speaking to reporters in New York, the chief, Secretary General António Guterres, said that “one rash move” by Israel or Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese group targeting Israel in allegiance with Hamas fighters in Gaza, could trigger a “catastrophe that goes far beyond the border and, frankly, beyond imagination.”

World leaders have tried for months to calm tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, trying to prevent a full-fledged war. But instead of quelling the conflict, strikes and counterstrikes across the border have become more intense — and the rhetoric of leaders on both sides has only become more bellicose in recent days, prompting Mr. Guterres to express what he called “profound concern” that all-out war would erupt.

“Many lives have already been lost, tens of thousands of people have been displaced and homes and livelihoods have been destroyed,” Mr. Guterres said. He added that “the people of the region and the people of the world cannot afford Lebanon to become another Gaza.”

Ever since Hezbollah began trading fire with Israeli forces in the wake of the Hamas-led assault on Israel on Oct. 7, over 100 civilians in Israel and Lebanon have been killed, and more than 150,000 have been displaced from their homes. The exchanges have also sparked wildfires on both sides of the border.


Last modified: 23 June 2024