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UN chief cautions against new Israeli-Hezbollah war

FILE - In this July 25, 2014, file photo, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks during a rally to mark Jerusalem Day or Al-Quds day, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. On Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 Nasrallah, in a televised speech, said the cou
AP Photo/Bilal Hussein, File

Growing tension between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah “heightens risk of miscalculation and escalation into conflict,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Friday.

The UN chief called on the parties, whose last major confrontation was a 2006 war, “to exercise restraint at all times” and “refrain from potentially inflammatory comments.”

Guterres added that allegations of arms shipments to the Shiite militia continue “on a regular basis." However the UN “is not in a position to substantiate them independently."

The Israeli Defense Force believes that Hezbollah has amassed between 100,000 and 120,000 short- and medium-range missiles and rockets, as well as several hundred long-range missiles. With its formidable arsenal of missiles trained on the Jewish state, Hezbollah remains the most serious military threat facing Israel.

With tensions exacerbating across the region, and the Saudi Arabian-Iran rivalry increasingly playing out in on the ground Syria and Yemen, there has been an upsurge in tit-for-tat rhetoric between the Sunni and Shiite powerhouses.

Israel, which has long claimed that Iran is using its Lebanese proxy to assert further influence in the region, has carried out several airstrikes against Hezbollah weapons caches and convoys in Syria.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Monday that the group has been sending anti-tank missiles to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, asserting his group sees this as an acomplishment to be proud of, in a televised statement.

While Nasrallah denied Hezbollah transferred arms to Yemen, Bahrain and Kuwait, the Islamist leader said he was proud to have sent "Kornet" missiles to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, referring to missiles used to target tanks.

"Additionally, in Syria, we are using our weaponry," Nasrallah said.

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