UN forces say Israel border quiet following clashes with Iran
Day after Iran attacked northern Israel, prompting Israeli bombing of Iranian targets in Syrian, UN peacekeepers say area ‘quiet’.
United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon said Friday they were keeping a close eye on the southern border with Israel, but the area was “quiet” after strikes on Iranian military positions in Syria.
The Israeli raids late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning following an Iranian attack on the Golan Heights had prompted concern that Iran’s powerful ally, the Hezbollah terror group, could retaliate from its positions in southern Lebanon.
“We are monitoring the overall situation, but in relation to our area, the situation has been quiet,” said Andrea Tenenti, spokesman for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Tenenti told AFP that the UN force had not increased its patrols in the south, which number around 450 per day.
On Thursday morning, Israel carried out unprecedented strikes against what it said were Iranian logistics and intelligence targets in Syria.
It said the strikes were in response to rocket fire towards its forces in northern Israel, which it blamed on Iran’s Quds Force.
Iranian forces are deployed in Syria to back the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, whose fighters have also received a boost from Iraqi and other foreign militias as well as Hezbollah terrorists.
Israel, which has vowed to prevent any entrenched Iranian military presence in southern Syria, is suspected of carrying out several rounds of strikes against Tehran-backed forces.
It has also targeted what it says are arms deliveries to Hezbollah in Syria.
There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah on the latest Israeli strikes or how it might respond.
Israel and its US ally believe Hezbollah is amassing weapons on Lebanon’s southern border in preparation for a new war, after a deadly conflict with Israel in 2006.
Set up in 1978, UNIFIL was beefed up after the 2006 war and tasked with guaranteeing a ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal from a demilitarized zone on the border.
UNIFIL now has 10,500 troops on the ground, monitoring the truce and helping Lebanese troops secure the borders