February 20, 2024

BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi has condemned makes an attempt by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to hyperlink its southern Lebanon border battle with Israel to the conflict in Gaza.

In his Sunday sermon, Al-Rahi additionally known as for the removing of Hezbollah missile launchers “planted between houses in Lebanese border cities,” warning that the presence of such weapons “invitations a damaging Israeli response.”

The patriarch’s handle on the ultimate day of 2023 got here as Hezbollah militants and Israeli forces once more exchanged fireplace in border areas.

Al-Rahi warned towards extending the (Gaza) battle to southern Lebanon, and known as for Lebanese residents to be protected, saying “they haven’t but recovered from the disastrous Lebanese conflict.”

He mentioned: “We will not discover phrases to sentence Israel’s conceited and boastful conflict with its superior weapons on the folks of Gaza, together with its youngsters, girls, and aged of their protected houses, hospitals, mosques, and church buildings.

“We direct vital condemnation towards the silent worldwide group. Israel believes it could possibly quash the Palestinian trigger and finish the demand for a two-state resolution and the return of refugees to their land by way of this conflict.

“Nevertheless, we are saying that injustice begets injustice, and conflict begets conflict; justice comes by way of peace.”

A web based account final Saturday posted photos of two missile launchers in an olive area on the outskirts of the Christian-majority border city of Rmeish, and voiced alarm at “any motion that threatens the protection of residents and exposes them to imminent hazard.”

In a publish, the Free Patriotic Motion, a Hezbollah ally, mentioned that Rmeish “didn’t object to the motion of the Lebanese resistance on its border outskirts, however somewhat objected to any try to reveal Rmeish and its folks to hazard.”

The FPM added: “Essentially the most harmful factor is that we have no idea who planted the launcher.

“Is it the Lebanese Islamic Resistance, the Al-Quds Brigades, Hamas, or one of many armed factions which have repeatedly used southern lands to hold out operations to attain targets for a trigger apart from the south’s trigger?

“We strongly reject unknown resistances with unknown sources and targets.”

Father Najib Al-Amil, the city’s parish priest, later confirmed {that a} Lebanese military unit had dismantled the launchers.

The Israeli military continued its assaults with fighter planes and drones on Lebanese cities within the western sector, raiding the outskirts of the city of Alma Al-Shaab towards Labouneh and Naqoura.

The Israeli military mentioned that it focused Hezbollah infrastructure and navy websites in Ramyah with airstrikes.

Whereas Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned on Sunday that “if peace shouldn’t be achieved on the northern entrance by way of politics, we are going to obtain it by way of conflict,” Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary-Normal Sheikh Naim Qassem declared that Israel should cease the Gaza conflict to ensure that the preventing in Lebanon to cease.   

Qassem additionally warned that additional shelling of civilians in Lebanon “implies that the response will likely be stronger and proportional to the Israeli aggression.”

Hezbollah mentioned on Sunday that it had focused Israeli navy websites, together with Hanita, which “was instantly hit.”

Israeli media mentioned that sirens sounded within the Higher Galilee and Western Galilee.

Over the previous 48 hours, Hezbollah introduced the loss of life of extra fighters, together with some killed in Syria.

Amongst these killed in southern Lebanon was Ali Ahmed Saad, a highschool chemistry professor, who died when a shell struck his house within the border city of Bint Jbeil.

Caretaker Training and Larger Training Minister Abbas Al-Halabi paid tribute to Saad, saying that “this exemplary younger man was dedicated to the land and protection of Lebanon’s soil and dignity towards a ruthless enemy that doesn’t hesitate to crush civilians and demolish faculties, hospitals, and locations of worship over the heads of innocents in Palestine and Lebanon.”

Al-Halabi appealed to UN Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres to “protect instructional establishments and harmless civilians from the ravages of conflict and destruction, and to exert stress to cease the conflict that’s crushing Gaza, killing its folks, afflicting Lebanon day by day, claiming martyrs, and demolishing houses.”

Sheikh Naim Qassem mentioned that Israel is “searching for to indicate that it could possibly hold Hezbollah and the resistance away from the south to allow them to be reassured, even in the course of the battle.

“We are saying to them: Israel is in no place to impose its choices; the resistance is able to reply to aggression, reject the consolidation of the Israeli challenge, and stop Israel from reaching its objectives in Gaza, Lebanon, and the area.”

Hezbollah’s response got here a day after Maj. Gen. Aroldo Lazaro, UNIFIL’s head of mission and power commander, warned that “the potential for a larger escalation within the south is ever-present.”

He added that “containing the battle largely within the areas close to the Blue Line is an indication that the events don’t need escalation, however there may be at all times a threat of miscalculation, and UNIFIL is working laborious to avert this consequence.”