The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has voted in favor of renewing the mandate for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one year on Friday, August 28. The force is responsible for maintaining peace in the border area between Israel and Lebanon. Following US and Israeli pressure to reform the UNIFIL presence along the border, the UNSC lowered permitted troop numbers to 13,000 and requested UNIFIL forces have additional rights in Lebanon to carry out their work.
The role of UNIFIL has come under criticism following several alleged incidents along the Israeli-Lebanese border, with reports of Hezbollah attacks against Israeli positions and Israeli reprisal attacks in response in recent days.
Further clashes along the Israeli-Lebanese border cannot be ruled out over the near term.
UNIFIL was established in 1978 by the UNSC to ensure Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and to restore peace and security in border areas. Following the 2006 war, it was decided that the force would also support the deployment of Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in areas of southern Lebanon controlled by Hezbollah, a Shi'a militant group and political party based out of Lebanon. Israeli officials are concerned that as the fighting in Syria slows, Iran and Hezbollah will attempt to maintain a permanent presence along the Israeli border. Hezbollah and Israel have been engaged in numerous armed conflicts over the past 30 years, including the month-long 2006 war between the two parties.
Those along the Lebanese/Israeli border are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate a heightened security presence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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