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UN peacekeepers in Lebanon alarmed by escalation along Blue Line

UN peacekeepers in Lebanon alarmed by escalation along Blue Line

Following a heavy exchange of fire across the Blue Line of Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon, the top United Nations peacekeeper in the area said today he was "deeply disturbed" by the intensifying violence and urged restraint to stop its further spread.

"The katyusha attacks last night on Israel and the ferocity of firing this morning, which has spread to outside Shebaa Farms including rounds falling extremely close to a UN position, makes me very concerned about the outcome of these dangerous attempts of escalation from the Lebanese side," said Major-General Lalit Tewari, the Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

"I appeal for a cool head and restraint to allow the diplomatic initiatives to bear fruit," he added in a statement released in Naqoura.

Meanwhile, a UN spokesman in New York reported that Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Personal Representative for southern Lebanon, Staffan de Mistura, has intensified his contacts with the Lebanese authorities and the diplomatic community in Beirut in order to impress the urgent need for restraint along the Blue Line, including the Shebaa Farms.