More than 76,000 people have been dis-placed in Lebanon in almost three months of near-daily fighting along the border with Israel, the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Saturday.
The border area has seen a surge of violence since early October, with tit-for-tat exchanges of fire con-tinuing on Saturday between Israeli forces and Hez-bollah.
In a report published on Friday, the IOM said that the escalation had displaced 76,018 people, mainly in areas of southern Lebanon bordering Israel.
More than 80 per cent of the displaced Lebanese are staying with relatives, according to the report, and only two per cent housed in 14 collective shelters spread across the south of the country, mainly in the coastal city of Tyre and in the Hasbaya region.
The rest have rented apartments or moved to homes in areas farther from the border, the UN agency said.
Cross-border violence has left 175 people dead in Lebanon, including 129 Hezbollah fighters and more than 20 civilians, including three journalists.
In northern Israel, nine soldiers and five civilians have been killed, according to Israeli authorities.
Hezbollah, which conducts daily operations against Israeli soldiers along the border, says it is intervening in support of Hamas in Gaza.
Tensions rose further with a strike on Tuesday that killed Hamas’s number two, Saleh Al Aruri, in a Hezbollah stronghold in south Beirut.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that the assassination, widely attributed to Israel, “will not go unpunished”.
He said Lebanon would be “exposed” to more Israeli operations if his powerful Lebanese armed group did not respond to the killing of the deputy chief of Hamas on the outskirts of Beirut.—AFP