Four injured in airstrike on UN staff on Lebanon border

Four staff members have been injured in an airstrike on a Lebanon border town, the UN peacekeeping mission has said.

The missile was initially reported to have hit a humanitarian vehicle outside the southern Lebanese border town of Rmeish, two security sources told Reuters, but the UN later confirmed the staff were on a foot patrol in the area.

The security sources initially said that the airstrike was Israeli, a claim later denied by Tel Aviv.

“Contrary to the reports, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) did not strike a UNIFIL vehicle in the area of Rmeish this morning,” the military said.

One of the security sources told Reuters that the car was carrying three UN technical observers and one Lebanese translator.

There have been a wave of attacks along the border between Lebanon and Israel since the start of recent conflict in Gaza, which began on 7 October when Hamas killed 1,200 Israeli citizens and kidnapped more than 250 others.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have repeatedly exchanged airstrikes with Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, who have expressed their support for Hamas.

Backed by Iran, the Shia Islamist political party and militant group has previously said it is “fully prepared” to join the war between Israel and Hamas.

Israel’s shelling of Lebanon has killed nearly 270 Hezbollah fighters, along with 50 civilians including children, medics and journalists.

In February, the IDF launched a wave of attacks on weapons depot in southern Lebanon, near the Sidon area, in response to a Hezbollah drone strike in Israel.

Videos posted online showed huge balls of fire and plumes of smoke rising from the area, and Jordanian news outlet Roya News reported that strikes had hit Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp.

It followed an airstrike in southern Lebanon in January which killed a senior Hezbollah leader.

Wissam al-Tawil, deputy head of a unit within the militant’s Radwan force, reportedly died when his car was hit in the village of Khirbet Selm in southern Lebanon.

British, German and American citizens were urged to leave Lebanon in October over fears the country could be drawn into a wider conflict.

The war between Israel and Hamas has also spilled into Syria, with a series of airstrikes killing at least 42 people yesterday.

The Syrian defence ministry said that both civilians and military personnel were among the dead, in what have been described as the most violent Israeli strikes on Syria in three years.

This story is being updated.