BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati has urged the UK to place “maximum pressure” on Israel to end its campaign on Gaza and the Lebanese border.

In a meeting with UK Foreign Minister David Cameron on Thursday, Mikati warned that the “Israeli provocations in southern Lebanon could lead to deteriorating conditions and a full-scale war in the region as a whole.”

Cameron said that “an escalation of the conflict in Gaza to Lebanon, the Red Sea or across the wider region would add to the extremely high level of danger and insecurity in the world.”

In a phone call with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, Mikati expressed concern over “the escalation of the Israeli hostilities in southern Lebanon and the widespread targeting of civilians.”

He added that “the persisting attacks could drag Lebanon into a full-scale confrontation that could affect all countries in the region,” demanding pressure on Israel to “stop its persistent violations.”

Israel said on Thursday that several drones were launched from Lebanon toward north of Haifa in Israel. In southern Lebanon, confrontations took place between Hezbollah and UNIFIL in border villages, amid increased pressure on Lebanon to implement Resolution 1701.

A spokesperson of the Israeli army announced that “air defenses were activated against a drone that infiltrated from Lebanon over north of Haifa,” adding that “sirens sounded in the region.”

Social media activists published pictures of people hiding next to sidewalks following the blaring of sirens.

Sirens also sounded in other Israeli settlements, including Yiftah, Ramot Naftali, Malkia and Dishon in the Upper Galilee, amid “fears of Lebanese drone infiltration,” according to the Israeli spokesperson.

Israeli media reported that “air defenses had intercepted a drone launched by Hezbollah from southern Lebanon.”

The Israeli army said it was “on high alert in northern Israel amid increased attacks carried out by Hezbollah from Lebanon.”

During a field assessment conducted in the Northern Command in Safad, Israeli Chief of General Staff Herzi Halevi said on Wednesday: “We approved plans for a variety of emergencies, and we should be ready to launch an attack if necessary,” adding that “the preparedness of the Israeli army and the Northern Command is at a high level.”

On Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen addressed Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, warning him that “if he doesn’t want an escalation, he must immediately adhere to the UN Security Council’s resolution 1701,” adding that “Hezbollah must withdraw north of the Litani River.”

He said: “We will opt for the diplomatic option and if it doesn’t work, we will consider every conceivable option. We will not let the residents return to the settlements they fled without ensuring their safety and restoring their sense of security.”

The Israeli Army Radio announced on Thursday that “the Israeli Air Force carried out a preemptive attack on southern Lebanon, targeting Hezbollah’s infrastructure.”

An Israeli jet on Thursday bombed the outskirts of the Ayta Al-Shaab village. Israeli aircraft also hit the Al-Salhani region, located between Ramyah and Marwahin in the western part of southern Lebanon. Four Israeli artillery shells landed between Debel and Hanine.

Tensions escalated in the afternoon as missiles “were launched from Lebanon toward Israeli outposts located in the occupied Kfarchouba Heights.” Israeli shelling targeted the Wadi Mozlem region, between Ramyah and Beit Lif. Hezbollah announced “targeting the Israeli military outpost of Al-Sammaqah in the Lebanese occupied Shebaa Farms.”

Hezbollah also targeted “a gathering of the Israeli enemy in the Hounine outpost using appropriate weapons.”

Missiles also landed next to the Kiryat Shmona settlement with no sirens activated, making it the region’s second attack in 24 hours.

As the exchanged hostilities transgress the rules of engagement and reach deeper into southern Lebanon and northern Israel, UNIFIL forces deployed in the former were subject to two new attacks, threatening the implementation of Resolution 1701. International and local bodies have been calling for the implementation of the resolution, urging Lebanon’s neutrality in the Gaza war.

In a statement, UNIFIL said on Thursday that “a peacekeeper was hurt later Wednesday, after a patrol was attacked by a group of young men in Taybeh, southern Lebanon,” adding that “a vehicle was also damaged.”

The force said: “Attacks on men and women serving the cause of peace are not only condemnable, but they are violations of the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and Lebanese law.

“Peacekeepers’ freedom of movement is vital as we work to restore security and stability along the Blue Line.”

UNIFIL forces called on the Lebanese authorities to conduct a full and quick investigation to bring all perpetrators to justice, stressing that “UNIFIL peacekeepers are still carrying out their tasks, and we will continue our vital work in monitoring and stopping the escalation.”

It was also announced that a group of young men from the town of Kafr Kila had intercepted a UNIFIL patrol from the French battalion that was passing by, forcing the vehicle to a stop.

Correspondents in the region said: “The issue was addressed after communicating with those concerned, but no injuries were reported in the accident.”

UNIFIL’s Media Office Deputy Director Candice Ardell said in a statement: “At approximately 9 a.m., peacekeepers were intercepted for approximately four minutes as they passed through Kafr Kila, while they were on their way to our Sector East Headquarters.”

She added: “After a short discussion with the residents of the area, the peacekeepers resumed their way. We continue to stress the importance of UNIFIL’s freedom of movement as we work to restore security and stability in south Lebanon.”

Activists on social media defended the move by accusing UNIFIL forces of “helping Israel uncover Hezbollah’s movements in the south.”

Lebanese MP Mark Daou described attacks on UNIFIL as attacks on the entire country, adding: “This is a condemnable act, and we demand the launching of an investigation and the immediate arrest of the attackers.”