BEIRUT: Lebanon’s permanent representative to the UN filed a formal complaint before the UN Security Council on Friday, following “the attack on a residential area in Beirut’s southern suburb of Dahiyeh,” which killed Hamas official Saleh Al-Arouri on Tuesday.
The submitted complaint emphasized the severity of the incident, labeling it “the most dangerous escalation since 2006, as it specifically targeted a densely populated residential zone in Beirut’s southern suburb, constituting a clear violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the safety of its civilian population and aviation.”
It added that the attack could lead to the expansion of conflict and “destabilize regional peace and security.”
Lebanon’s appeal urged the UNSC to “condemn the attack, exert pressure on Israel to cease its escalations, and take decisive action to halt further Israeli aggressions against Lebanon, to prevent further deterioration and the potential entanglement of the region in an extensive and devastating conflict.”
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech on Friday that Lebanon would be “exposed” to more Israeli operations if his group did not respond to the killing of the Hamas deputy chief.
Hezbollah launched rockets across the border on Oct. 8 in support of Hamas, one day after Hamas carried out the deadly attack on southern Israel that triggered Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Nasrallah said Hezbollah had carried out some 670 operations on the Lebanese-Israeli border since then, destroying a “large number” of Israeli military vehicles and tanks.
He also said that if the Israeli military managed to achieve its goals in Gaza, it would then turn to Lebanon.
Nasrallah said that Hezbollah “struck 494 targets, including 50 border sites that were bombed more than once during the past 90 days.”
Technical and intelligence equipment along the border was also destroyed, he claimed.
He added: “We were targeting military sites, officers and soldiers. If we targeted residences, it was in response to the targeting of civilians on our side.”
Nasrallah said that the ongoing battle in southern Lebanon had “established the balance of deterrence.”
He added that “today we have a historical chance to liberate every inch of our Lebanese territory and prevent the enemy from violating our borders and airspace.”
Nasrallah reaffirmed that “the violation that took place in Beirut’s southern suburb will not go unanswered and unpunished,” adding that the decision was now “in the hands of the battlefield.”
Nasrallah believes that the US “does not want the war to expand in the region because it is preoccupied with the Ukrainian front and is preparing for a strategic defeat against Russia.”
To avoid the expansion of conflict in the region, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell was in talks with Lebanese officials on Friday.
Borrell’s visit will last for two days, according to the EU delegation to Lebanon.
It will focus on “all aspects of the situation in and around Gaza, including its impact on the region, especially the situation at the Israeli-Lebanese border, as well as the importance of avoiding regional escalation and sustaining the flow of humanitarian assistance to civilians, which the EU has quadrupled to €100 million ($109 million).”
Borrell will meet with Speaker Nabih Berri, Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdallah Bou Habib, and Lebanese Armed Forces Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun.
He will also exchange views with Gen. Aroldo Lazaro, UNIFIL’s head of mission and force commander.
The commission had previously clarified that Borrell would “re-emphasize the need to advance diplomatic efforts with regional leaders to create the conditions to reach a just and lasting peace between Israel, Palestine, and the region.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is set to visit Lebanon as part of a trip to the Middle East this Sunday that includes Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Egypt.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Sebastian Fisher said that “the dramatic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the situation in the West Bank, and the extremely volatile position on the Israeli-Lebanese border will be at the center of the talks, in addition to the attempts to free hostages still being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.”
Fears of widening conflict between Israel and Hamas grew following Al-Arouri’s assassination in one of the neighborhoods located in Hezbollah’s security square in Beirut’s southern suburb.
Fisher said: “We are following the situation on the Lebanese border, and the risk of escalation in the Middle East is very real.”
In a statement issued on Thursday, Germany called on all Germans in Lebanon “to leave the country as quickly as possible.”
Also on Friday, Israeli drones shelled a house on the outskirts of the Mhaibib village and a house on the outskirts of Blida in the central part of southern Lebanon.
The shelling reached the outskirts of the Mays Al-Jabal and Rachaya Al-Fakhar villages.
Israeli artillery shelling on Friday morning targeted the outskirts of Yaroun village.
Israeli warplanes bombed a region located between Chihine and Majdal Zoun, as well as the outskirts of Aita Al-Shaab.
Rocket fragments reached a Lebanese Army site in the area. The bombing also reached the outskirts of Yarine and Jebbeen.
Hamas and other pro-Hamas Palestinian factions held the funeral of Samir Findi on Friday in the Al-Rashidieh camp in Tyre, and that of Lebanese national Mohammed Said Bashasha, who was laid to rest in Saida.
Both victims were killed in the Israeli attack that killed Al-Arouri.