BEIRUT: Tensions rose on the Lebanese southern front following a short period of cautious calm lasting until the early hours of Monday in many border villages.
Lebanon’s caretaker social affairs minister, Hector Hajjar, on Monday visited the border region and toured several towns to assess the situation of people forced to leave their homes.
The number of displaced people has reached 72,436 due to escalating conflicts in previously less affected areas.
Religious leader, Elias Kfoury, told the minister during the reconnaissance tour in Jdeidet Marjayoun that “the movement is completely paralyzed in the region after the closure of schools in the Marjayoun area and the transfer of official transactions and security offices to Nabatieh governorate.”
Additionally, Kfoury said that the Marjayoun-Khardali-Nabatieh road was now at risk due to recent bombings by Israeli drones.
Hajjar visited the towns of Rmeish, Ain Ebel, and Hanin, and ended his tour in Tyre, where he visited the new shelter at the Tyre National School.
He promised to “make necessary preparations in case the security situation deteriorated, to support the Lebanese people leaving unsafe areas.”
On Monday afternoon, sirens sounded in seven Israeli settlements in the Upper Galilee amid fears of drone infiltration from Lebanon.
Many Israeli outposts and settlements opposite the Lebanese border region were targeted, while several Lebanese southern villages were subject to Israeli air and ground bombing and missile strikes.
Sirens sounded in Avivim, Bar’am, Dishon, Dalton, Yiftah, Yir’on, Kerem Ben Zamra, and Malkia in the Upper Galilee.
Israel’s Channel 12 reported that an anti-armor missile was launched from Lebanese territory toward Metula in the Upper Galilee.
The Israeli army launched a spy balloon over the outskirts of Dhahira opposite a Lebanese army post.
Hezbollah announced that it had resumed targeting Israeli military outposts, including “directly hitting the Hadb Al-Bustan outpost.”
An Israeli drone fired two rockets on the border village of Kfarkila. Direct artillery shelling reached the outskirts of Bint Jbeil, the Maroun Al-Ras village, and the outskirts of Tayr Harfa village.
Israel continues to threaten Hezbollah that “if it does not retreat behind the borders, a full-scale war is likely to happen in Lebanon.”
An Israeli official told Reuters that some of the troops pulled out of Gaza in the south would be prepared for rotation to the northern border with Lebanon.
He added the situation on the Lebanese front would not be allowed to continue.
The coming six-month period is critical, and Israel will convey a similar message to US envoy, Amos Hochstein, who is conducting shuttle missions to Beirut, the official said.
Israeli reconnaissance planes were seen flying intensively over southern villages.
They also conducted surveillance flights at medium altitudes over villages and towns in the Hasbaya district.
Israeli planes flew nonstop over the villages in the western and central sectors, extending to the coast and above Tyre city.
During these flights, flare bombs were dropped over the border villages near the Blue Line, from Naqoura to Ramiya, Al-Quzah, Dibal, Ain Ebel, and Aita Al-Shaab.
Israeli warplanes flew at a high altitude over the city of Hermel and the villages in the northeastern region of Lebanon.
Israeli fighter jets conducted airstrikes in the early hours of Sunday morning near the towns of Al-Dhahirah and Al-Jabeen, without causing any human casualties.
On New Year’s eve, most residents in the Arqoub and Hasbaya areas stayed home due to concerns about potential attacks on their villages.
This fear was heightened by the presence of army and security forces in the region, who were actively patrolling the area.