French Minister of the Armed Forces considered on Thursday during a visit to southern Lebanon that the country “is in no need of war” with Israel, which is engaged in a conflict with the Palestinian movement Hamas in Gaza, warning of the danger of escalation in the region.
“Lebanon is in no need of a war, it is the least we can say.” Sébastien Lecornu said while inspecting the French battalion in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
“Not to mention that this war could have significant escalatory effects on the entire region,” he added.
Fears are growing of the war between Israel and Hamas escalating into a regional conflict, especially due to tension along the Israeli-Lebanese border.
The border has witnessed exchanges of shelling and gunfire between the Israeli army on one side and Hezbollah and its allies on the other.
A barrage of rockets was launched on Thursday near the Lebanese-Israeli border, leading to two injuries, according to the Israeli emergency services.
The leader of the Iran-backed party, Hassan Nasrallah, is expected to deliver a speech on Friday for the first time since the start of the war.
Lecornu considered that in the face of current tensions, no one has an interest in “stopping” UNIFIL’s mission, considering it a “solution” that provides monitoring and deterrence to avoid escalation.
He expressed regret at hearing that UNIFIL should stop its patrols without specifying the party he was referring to “Given the current tensions, if there is a time when we need monitoring and deterrence to avoid escalation, it is now,” he concluded by saying.
Violence erupted at the borders the day after the October 7th attack launched by Hamas on Israel, to which Israel responded with relentless shelling of the Gaza Strip.
The shelling and gunfire resulted in the death of 66 people in southern Lebanon, according to a count by Agence France-Presse, including 48 fighters from Hezbollah and seven civilians.
Eight soldiers and one civilian were killed on the Israeli side, according to Israeli authorities. On Saturday, a shell fell on the headquarters of the UNIFIL forces in Naqoura without causing any injuries.
UNIFIL forces, with a strength of over 10,000 personnel, have been stationed in southern Lebanon since 1978. It includes around 700 French military personnel.