Lebanon cannot become another Gaza: UN chief

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Friday that fighting between Israel and Hezbollah must not turn Lebanon into “another Gaza.”

Guterres cited increased “bellicose rhetoric” from both sides as they engage in nearly daily exchanges of fire across the Israel-Lebanon border in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, and he said they risk triggering a catastrophe “beyond imagination.”

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“Let’s be clear: The people of the region and the people of the world cannot afford Lebanon to become another Gaza,” Guterres told reporters.

As Israel and Hezbollah trade cross-border fire, fears of a regional conflict are growing after Israel revealed it had approved plans for a Lebanon offensive and the Iran-backed militants vowed to blanket their foe in rockets.

“The risk for the conflict in the Middle East to widen is real -- and must be avoided,” Guterres said.

“One rash move -- one miscalculation -- could trigger a catastrophe that goes far beyond the border, and frankly, beyond imagination,” he added.

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