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UN peacekeeping forces urge calm as Israel strikes Lebanon, Gaza

April 7, 2023 at 9:09 am

Smokes and flames rise from the area after Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes on the central part of the Gaza Strip, on April 07, 2023 in Gaza City, Gaza [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon warned of a ”serious escalation” as Israel launched airstrikes in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip early Friday, reports Anadolu Agency.

”The actions over the past day are dangerous and risk a serious escalation,” the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said in a statement. ”We urge all parties to cease all actions across the Blue Line now.”

UNIFIL’s head of mission and force commander Major General Aroldo Lázaro is speaking with authorities on both sides of the Blue Line, it said.

Israel launches airstrikes in Lebanon, Gaza

”Both sides have said they do not want a war,” it added.

The Israeli military launched airstrikes in Lebanon hours after it struck the Gaza Strip early Friday.

In a statement, it said it struck targets belonging to the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in southern Lebanon.

The Israeli army said it would not allow Hamas ”to operate from within Lebanon” and ”holds the state of Lebanon responsible for every directed fire emanating from its territory.”

It struck two tunnels in Beit Hanoun and Khan Yunis and two weapons factories in Gaza in response to ”Hamas’ security violations.”

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Reacting to the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, Hazem Kassem, a spokesman for Hamas, said that Israel ”bears full responsibility” for the escalation and the aggression against Jerusalem and Gaza.

The group launched rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israel after the latest strikes.

The Israeli army also issued a warning on Twitter saying that sirens are sounding in southern Israel.

Sirens were also triggered in the city of Ashkelon after rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip.

The developments came after Israeli forces stormed the Al-Qibli Prayer Hall in the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem and forcibly removed Palestinian worshippers for two nights in a row.