U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein is due to visit Beirut on Monday to continue diplomatic efforts aimed at de-escalating the conflict across the Lebanese-Israeli border and bringing stability, a senior Lebanese official said on Sunday.
Iran, a staunch supporter of Hezbollah, has provided substantial financial and military assistance to the group, enabling its growth and consolidation of power © Mena Today
Israel said on Sunday it had hit weapons launch sites and facilities belonging to Hezbollah in Lebanon in response to cross-border fire, while the Iran-backed group said it had attacked Israeli army targets.
Israel and Hezbollah fighters have been trading fire along the frontier on an almost daily basis since the war in Gaza erupted more than two months ago, in the worst hostilities since a 2006 conflict.
The violence, which has largely been contained to the border area, has killed more than 130 people in Lebanon, including 94 Hezbollah fighters and 17 civilians. In Israel, the hostilities have killed eight soldiers and four civilians.
Israel's military said it had responded to Hezbollah attacks with artillery, tank fire and airstrikes at launch sites, an observation post of the Lebanese group and what it called a "terrorist cell."
Hezbollah said it had fired at a range of Israeli military targets along the border, including what it said was a barracks, a command centre and an army crane installing surveillance equipment.
Israel did not report any casualties resulting from the attacks that set off rocket sirens in areas of northern Israel.
Iran, a staunch supporter of Hezbollah, has provided substantial financial and military assistance to the group, enabling its growth and consolidation of power. This has led to a situation where Hezbollah often operates independently of the central Lebanese government and pursues its own agenda, closely aligned with Iranian interests.
The United Nations has not been passive in addressing the issue of Hezbollah's influence in Lebanon. Multiple UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 1701, have called for the disarmament of all militias in Lebanon, explicitly referring to Hezbollah.
Furthermore, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has been tasked with monitoring the cessation of hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel, particularly along the southern border.
Despite these resolutions and the presence of UNIFIL, Hezbollah has consistently defied the UN's calls for disarmament.
The organization has maintained its military capabilities and even expanded its arsenal, raising concerns about its potential to ignite conflicts in the region. Its dominance in Lebanon's political landscape further complicates efforts to address its activities.
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Edmund Blair; editing by Christina Fincher, with Mena Today
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