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Arab League warns against escalating tensions as Israeli jets launch raids on southern Lebanon

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) convoy drives past one of their outposts manned by Italian peacekeepers, during a patrol on August 5, 2021 on the road between the southern Lebanese towns of Naqura and Shamaa near the occupied territories. (Photo by AFP)

The Arab League has warned that escalating hostilities between Lebanon and the Tel Aviv regime could spiral out of control as Israeli jets struck what its military claimed were rocket launch sites in Lebanon.

The 22-member regional organization, in a statement, said Lebanon has been passing through a difficult time and could not endure more tensions.

The pan-Arab body noted that the practices of the new Israeli administration headed by prime minister Naftali Bennett are meant to display its force.

The Arab League called on all Lebanese parties and factions to exercise self-restraint in order to prevent chaos.

It also urged the international community to help Lebanon tackle its political stalemate and unprecedented economic problems.

Moreover, the head of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on Thursday urged Lebanon and the Israeli regime to respect the UNIFIL's coordination role following tensions.

“In this period of regional volatility, more than ever, UNIFIL's liaison and coordination role must be respected by all sides,” Stefano Del Col said.

The UNIFIL head also called on both parties “to act with urgency” to de-escalate tensions and prevent breaches of the cessation of hostilities.

“Earlier today [Thursday], rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory,” the Israeli air force alleged in a tweet.

“In response … fighter jets struck the launch sites and infrastructure … in Lebanon from which the rockets were launched. 

“An additional target in the area from which rockets have been launched in the past was struck as well,” the tweet added.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said the Israeli airstrikes were the first targeting villages since 2006 and showed an escalation in its “aggressive intent” towards his country.

Aoun also said the strikes were a direct threat to the security and stability of southern Lebanon and violated UN Security Council resolutions.

On Wednesday, explosions reportedly rang out across locations in southern Lebanon as a result of “extensive artillery attacks” launched by the Israeli military.

The Israeli Kan News channel said the attacks — which came after “three rockets” were reportedly fired from southern Lebanon towards the occupied territories — saw Israeli military forces firing “more than 100 artillery rounds” towards the country.

The airstrikes in Lebanon coincided with recent threats by Israeli minister for military affairs Benny Gantz that the Tel Aviv regime was ready to strike Iran.

Speaking to Israeli Ynet news website on Thursday, Gantz claimed Tel Aviv was prepared to launch strikes against Tehran.

In response to Gantz’s hostile comment  the United Nations called on all parties to de-escalate the situation.

“What is important is for all of the parties who are involved to avoid any escalatory action or rhetoric that could make the tense situation worse,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesmen for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in New York on Thursday.

Dujarric also welcomed the entry into office of Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raeisi.

“We look forward to working with the new president of Iran on a host of issues that are of interest to the UN and Iran,” Dujarric said.

Tensions have simmered in the region after a suspected drone attack last week on Israeli-managed tanker Mercer Street off the Omani coast killed two crew members. The attack was blamed on Iran by the United States, Israel and Britain, without any evidence.

Iran has categorically denied any involvement.

The US said Sunday that it would work with its allies to respond to the alleged attack.

Benett also said Tuesday that the regime was rallying “global action” against Iran but claimed that Israel was capable of “acting alone” if necessary.

Iran has warned that it will not hesitate to give a crushing response to any threat against its security.

Tehran wrote to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday and warned about recent suspicious attempts to create artificial maritime “incidents” in the Persian Gulf and the broader region, urging a swift end to such “irresponsible acts” that harm the region’s peace.

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