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SOURCE: IANS

The world organisation has warned of a “heightened risk of a full-scale war” along the Lebanon-Israel border where 901 Indian peacekeepers are deployed.

“The UN is deeply concerned at the increase in the intensity of exchanges of fire across the Blue Line yesterday, which heightens the risk of a full-scale war”, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s spokesperson’s office said on Friday. “Escalation can and must be avoided. We reiterate that the danger of miscalculation leading to a sudden and wider conflagration is real,” it added.

After an Israeli drone killed a senior commander of the Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon on Wednesday, the militia responded by sending a barrage of 100 rockets into Israel.

The well-entrenched Hezbollah, which has the backing of Iran has threatened to continue attacks on Israel in solidarity with Hamas under Israeli assault in Gaza.

The decades-long tensions in the area have intensified since October 7 when Hamas attacked Israel, which launched a retribution on Gaza that it controls.

In solidarity with Hamas, Hezbollah said attacks on Israel till there is a ceasefire in Gaza, raising fears of a wider regional conflict.

Civilians have suffered the most from the volley of attacks between Hezbollah and Israel.

About 60,000 Lebanese have reportedly been displaced, and, according to United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, about 20,000 Israelis have also been forced to flee the border areas because of the attacks.

“Israel has effectively lost its sovereignty in the northern quadrant of its country because people don’t safe to go to their homes,” he said on Monday underscoring the risk of war.

He added that an agreement reached through diplomacy was needed to end the security risks and ensure that “forces are pulled back.”

The spokesperson’s office also emphasised that a “political and diplomatic solution is the only viable way forward.”

The Indian peacekeepers are a part of the 10,000-strong 49-nation UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) charged by the Security Council to work with Lebanese national forces to keep order in the volatile section known as the Blue Line that separates Lebanon and Israel.

In effect, the mission also acts as a buffer between the two countries at times caught in the crossfire between Israel and Hezbollah.

The spokesperson’s office said that the Foreign Affairs Committee of Lebanon’s Parliament visited UNIFIL to express support for the mission and its mandate on Thursday.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the UN special coordinator for Lebanon met with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati to emphasise “the need for de-escalation across the Blue Line,” it added.

Lebanon’s writ is weak in the region where Hezbollah controls vast tracts of territory.

Mohammad Naameh Nasser, who Israel blamed for rockets into the country, was the second Hezbollah commander killed in less than a month.

Last month another Hezbollah commander, Taleb Abdallah, was killed by Israel in Southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah retaliated with about 150 rockets and drones, but international diplomacy kept it from further escalation.

At another peacekeeping mission in the region, the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) charged with maintaining the ceasefire between Israel and Syria, 202 Indian troops are deployed.