Southern Lebanon: Annan envoy concerned by clash between Hizbollah, Israel

Southern Lebanon: Annan envoy concerned by clash between Hizbollah, Israel

Clashes between the Hizbollah and Israeli troops in the border area separating Lebanon and Israel have drawn an expression of "strong and serious concern" from an envoy of Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Staffan de Mistura, Mr. Annan's Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon, said in a statement that the clashes exacerbated an already tense situation in the region. "The relative calm that had prevailed for an extended period of time on the Blue Line has now been violently breached twice in the space of three weeks, and this undoubtedly is a very negative development," he said.

According to the UN Information Centre in Beirut, the Hizbollah launched an attack involving substantial mortar fire and around 10 missiles against three Israeli positions in the occupied Shebaa Farms area. The Israeli army then retaliated with heavy fire and two aerial bombs in the vicinity of Kfar Shouba inside Lebanese territory. No casualties were reported on either side.

Mr. de Mistura said it was crucial for all parties concerned to cease such violations, exercise maximum restraint and avoid any further escalation.