Ban expresses concern over Israel’s retaliatory strikes in operational area of UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon
NEW YORK — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday condemned an attack on an Israeli army patrol in Lebanon.
Ban also expressed concern at the retaliatory strikes by Israeli forces in the area of operations of the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.
Monday’s attack against two Israel Defense Forces vehicles in southern Lebanon’s Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms region was claimed by Lebanese Shia militia group Hezbollah.
UN officials “have taken immediate steps through contacts with the parties to help restore calm in the area”, Dujarric said, adding that the UN mission in Lebanon was in cooperating with Lebanese and Israeli armies to investigate the incident.
“[Ban] calls on all parties to maintain the cessation of hostilities,” Dujarric said.
Hezbollah said in a statement that the attack was conducted with a large explosive device by its Samir Kuntar Brigade “destroying an Israeli military vehicle and injuring all its passengers”.
For its part, the Israeli army said no soldiers had been injured in the incident.
In a speech delivered last month, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah vowed to “take revenge” for the assassination of Samir Kuntar, a Hezbollah commander killed in Syria by an airstrike widely believed to have been carried out by Israel.
Kuntar had been imprisoned in Israel for nearly 30 years for leading a deadly resistance operation from southern Lebanon into northern Israel in 1979. He was released in 2008 in a prisoner-swap deal between Israel and Hezbollah.