After the president of Lebanon deemed an alleged Israeli strike on terror targets in his nation a “declaration of war,” a United Nations spokesman called on “all parties” to “avoid escalation.”
By World Israel News and AP
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric issued a call for “maximum restraint” following reports on Monday by the Lebanese state-run National News Agency that Israeli drones bombed a Syrian-backed Lebanon-based terror group.
“The U.N. calls on the parties to exercise maximum restraint, both in action and in rhetoric,” Dujarric said. “It is imperative for all to avoid an escalation,” he added.
Dujarric’s statement arrived on the heels of comments by Lebanese President Michel Aoun to the U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis.
Aoun claims that Israeli strikes violate a U.N. Security Council resolution that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah.
“What happened is equal to a declaration of war and gives us the right to defend our sovereignty, independence, and the safety of our land,” Aoun said in a statement released by his office. “[W]e don’t accept anyone threatening us through any means.”
Israel hasn’t commented on whether it was behind the attack on the Lebanon-based terror group, known as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
PFLP is an ally of Hezbollah, Iran’s primary terror proxy in Lebanon, and of the Syrian government, which Tehran has propped up throughout a protracted civil war.
According to PFLP official Abu Wael Issam, Israeli drones carried out three strikes within minutes of one another after midnight on Sunday. Issam added that the Palestinian terror group’s “alternatives are open in confronting the Zionist enemy” but didn’t specify how or if it would retaliate.
In addition to the strike on the PFLP, Hezbollah claimed that Israeli drones crashed in Beirut near its propaganda headquarters. One of the drones was said to be laden with explosives. Hezbollah claimed on Tuesday that the drones were on a bombing mission.
Israeli experts refuted this report, maintaining that the drones appeared to be Iranian models.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah responded to the strikes on Sunday, declaring his terror organization would confront and shoot down any Israeli drones that enter Lebanese airspace from now on. He vowed to retaliate against the Jewish state.
Since the end of the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah has flouted the U.N. Security Council resolution to which Aoun referred by building cross-border attack tunnels to infiltrate Israeli territory, amassing an enormous, illegal stockpile of rockets and missiles, and operating surveillance posts on the border using an environment group as cover for its terror activities.