Lebanon: Heavy exchanges of fire continue

Naqoura - Heavy exchanges of fire continued along the length of the Blue Line in the last 24 hours, with somewhat reduced intensity. A smaller number of Hezbollah rockets were fired from various locations. The IDF continued the shelling and aerial bombardment of the south, but also on a comparatively lower scale. Early this morning, the IDF withdrew to the Israeli side from the Lebanese territory in the area of Marwahin in the western sector. The IDF is still present on the ground inside Lebanese territory in the area of Marun Al Ras in the central sector. There were reports of limited reinforcements in their presence in that area.

There were fifteen incidents of firing close to UN positions from the Israeli side during the past 24 hours, including a direct impact from an artillery shell inside a Ghanaian battalion position in the Marwahin area. No casualties were reported, but there was some material damage. Thirty two Lebanese civilians from the village of Marun Al Ras, who took shelter inside a patrol base of the Observer Group Lebanon (OGL) for the last three days, decided to leave the UN position at their own will this morning, and relocate north. In the last three days, this position suffered direct hits by seven artillery shells on two different occasions.

There are reports of local civilian population leaving their villages and towns in the eastern sector from the border villages of El Addaisseh, Hula, Mays al Jabal, Kafr Kila, Markaba, as well as from Marjayoun and Ibil as Saqy in the last 24 hours.

The Lebanese government formally requested UNIFIL to provide humanitarian escorts and assist in the relocation of the local civilian population from some villages. UNIFIL has been in contact with the IDF in order to ensure safe passage and to facilitate safe and orderly evacuation of the civilians from these areas.

All UNIFIL positions in the area of operation remain permanently occupied and maintained by the troops. Yesterday, UNIFIL re-supplied a number of UN positions, including the most critical forward positions close to the Blue Line. Additional re-supply convoys and some humanitarian supply convoys are planned for today, but the ability to move will depend on the situation on the ground.

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UNIFIL is the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon