UN chief warns Lebanon cannot afford to become another Gaza

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres expressed deep concern on Friday over the escalating tensions between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, stressing that U.N. peacekeepers are actively working to calm the situation and prevent any missteps that could lead to widespread conflict.

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

Since the onset of the Gaza war in October, Iran-backed Hezbollah has been launching rockets into Israel in support of its Palestinian ally, Hamas. This conflict has displaced tens of thousands of people in Israel, where pressure for a more aggressive response is mounting. Similarly, Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon have forced many Lebanese to flee their homes.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations stated on Friday that Hezbollah possesses the capability to defend both itself and Lebanon against Israel, ominously suggesting that “perhaps the time for the self-annihilation of this illegitimate regime has come.”

“Any imprudent decision by the occupying Israeli regime to save itself could plunge the region into a new war,” Iran’s U.N. mission posted on X.

The U.N. peacekeeping force, known as UNIFIL, along with unarmed technical observers from UNTSO, have been stationed in southern Lebanon for years to monitor hostilities along the Blue Line, the demarcation line between Lebanon and Israel.

“U.N. peacekeepers are on the ground working to de-escalate tensions and help prevent miscalculation,” Guterres emphasized.