More than 19,000 displaced in Lebanon as Israel border clashes escalate: UN

Refik Hodzic

More than 19,000 people have been internally displaced in Lebanon since early October, according to the United Nations migration agency, amid soaring tensions near the Israel-Lebanon border after the Israel-Hamas war erupted.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said 19,646 people had been displaced inside Lebanon since it began tracking movements on October 8, the day after an assault on Israel by Hamas fighters and an Israeli offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip.

It said the movements were mostly by those fleeing the south of Lebanon, while some people have also moved from other areas.

“We expect the numbers to rise as the cross-border tensions continue,” IOM spokesperson Mohammed Ali Abunajela said in a statement, as cited by the AFP news agency.

At least 1,400 people were killed in the Hamas attack, most of them civilians, according to Israeli authorities.

Israel has since bombarded Gaza relentlessly, killing more than 5,000 people, mostly civilians, according to Palestinian authorities.

As Israel escalated its Gaza offensive, the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, which is based in southern Lebanon, has increased its attacks on Israeli targets.

Israel has carried out cross-border strikes and bombardments on Lebanon, while Palestinian groups have also launched limited infiltration attempts into Israel.

Several communities have been told to evacuate in Israel, while thousands of people in Lebanon have fled border towns to other parts of the south or to areas closer to the capital Beirut.

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