A rocket from Lebanon struck the United Nations headquarters in the southern Lebanese town of Naqoura as fighting between the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and Lebanon-based Hezbollah intensified in the northern region of Israel.
“Our headquarters in Naqoura was hit with a rocket, and we are working to verify from where. Our peacekeepers were not in shelters at the time. Fortunately, no one was hurt,” the UN said in a statement. Officials added that the UN mission would continue actively engaging with both sides to de-escalate the violence, but “regrettably, despite our efforts, military escalation continues.”
The explosion at the UN facility occurred when Hezbollah fired a series of rockets into Northern Israel on October 15. The group had warned it will join Hamas in a war against Israel if the Jewish state invades the Gaza Strip with ground troops. The jihadist organization is funded by Iran and is better equipped and more highly trained than Hamas. Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine told Hamas, “Our history, our guns, and our rockets are with you.”
Hamas and Hezbollah are both backed by Iran, and both state their intention to destroy Israel and wipe it from the world’s map. There are differences, however. Hezbollah is a Shia Muslim movement founded in 1982 after an Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Hamas comes from the Sunni faction of Islam and was formed in 1987 as an offshoot of the global jihadist group, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas has resisted all attempts at peace with Israel and, with Iran’s help, has amassed a lethal range of weaponry, including rockets, long-range missiles, and drones.
Fighting continues in the region as Israel bombards the Gaza Strip from the air. Israel’s defense minister told his troops to prepare to “see Gaza from the inside,” signaling that a ground invasion is imminent. Israeli officials have warned Gaza residents to depart the area, but Egypt, Israel’s neighbor to the south, has refused to allow them entry.