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As Israel’s northern border heats up, UN chief says ‘world cannot afford Lebanon to become another Gaza’

Canada reportedly planning to evacuate tens of thousands of its citizens from Lebanon over war fears

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the United Nations prior to a meeting about the ongoing conflict in Gaza, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, Nov. 6, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs)

UN Sec.-Gen. António Guterres warned on Friday of an escalation in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.

“One rash move – one miscalculation – could trigger a catastrophe that goes far beyond the border, and frankly, beyond imagination,” Guterres stated. “Let’s be clear: The people of the region and the people of the world cannot afford Lebanon to become another Gaza.” 

As the situation in Lebanon has continued to escalate, world leaders appear to be taking steps aimed at both de-escalating the situation and being prepared in case a larger conflict breaks out. 

Guterres said UN peacekeepers in Lebanon “are on the ground working to de-escalate tensions and help prevent miscalculation.” 

The UN peacekeeper force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was expected to guarantee the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for a cessation of hostilities, the disarmament and withdrawal of all armed forces from south of the Litani River – except UN forces and the Lebanese Armed Forces – and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon. 

While Israel agreed to the resolution and withdrew from Lebanon, Hezbollah has refused to either disarm or withdraw from the area south of the Litani River. Neither the UN peacekeeping force nor the Lebanese army has ever attempted to enforce the withdrawal of Hezbollah from the area. 

On Friday, Israel's Channel N12 reported that Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie told Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz that Canada is preparing to evacuate 45,000 citizens from Lebanon over fears that a war would break out between Israel and Hezbollah. 

Jolie reportedly told Katz that Canada had already sent military forces to the region to assist in the operation to evacuate Canadian citizens.

“We are very concerned about war in Lebanon and are preparing for the largest rescue operation we have ever conducted.”

According to N12, Katz responded, “In order to prevent war, you must put pressure on Iran to cause Hezbollah to withdraw its forces beyond the Litani River. The window of opportunity is closing. Act quickly. Israel is not prepared to accept a situation in which residents of the north cannot return to their homes.” 

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also ordered its citizens to depart Lebanon over fears of a coming war, according to Al Arabiya. 

KUNA, the official Kuwait news agency reported that the national airline, Kuwait Airways, had sent “the first aircraft to evacuate nationals from Lebanon.” 

The United States Naval Institute reported that the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier group departed the Red Sea and would briefly remain in the Mediterranean Sea before returning home after a deployment of over seven months. 

The Eisenhower carrier group will reportedly spend most of the time in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea as a show of force to Hezbollah. 

Following multiple social media reports claiming that Reuters had reported Israel would attack Lebanon within 48 hours, the news agency took the unusual step of denying those reports.

“Any claims that Reuters reported that Israel will attack Lebanon within the next 48 hours are false. Reuters did not report this,” a spokesperson for the news outlet said. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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