SAIDA — Residents of border villages in southern Lebanon on Friday left their houses once more after fighting in Gaza resumed following the end of the week-long truce the same morning in anticipation of escalation on the Lebanese front despite the ongoing calm on the border.
The Lebanese-Israeli front, which experienced violent battles between the Israeli army and Hezbollah since Oct. 8, has experienced mostly calm throughout the duration of the truce and, even after it has ended, that calm has remained.
The head of the municipality of Houla Shakib Koteish told L'Orient Today that though a few families have left the village, the majority of residents have so far remained.
"I've spent seven days of calm with my family in the village which I wish would stay," Mohamad, 43, told L'Orient Today just before leaving his village Houla with his sister and mother. "But the end of the truce between Israel and Hamas increased the tension," he added.
Mohamad explained that staying in the village with drones, the sounds of Israeli jets flying above and strikes are "terrifying" and is why he decided to move back to his relative's house where he had been staying before the truce took effect on Nov. 24.
Tens of thousands of residents of southern border villages had left their homes when skirmishes between Hezbollah and the Israeli army started after Hamas's Oct. 7 attack with many of them returning during the truce.
The head of the municipality of Naqoura, Abbas Awada, told L'Orient Today that his city is experiencing a state of "anticipation" of what could happen on the Lebanese front. He explained that many of the families who had spent a lot of money by leaving their houses in other villages are unable to afford it anymore.
"Leaving your own house costs a lot, so a lot of the families would prefer to stay at home despite their fears of the possibility of a resumption to the fighting," Awada explained.
Fatima, a mother of four kids and resident of Kafr Kila, told L'Orient Today that she hopes a permanent truce could be reached.
"Living in peace is undescribable compared to what we suffered during the skirmishes, be it while we were in the villages or when we moved," Fatima said. "It looks like we are going to pack our luggage again," she added.
"Our financial state is humble and I felt that I am a burden when I moved to my relatives' house. I will leave as soon as the first bombing happens," she said.
More than a hundred people were killed in Lebanon by Israeli bombings during the battles between Hezbollah and Israel since Oct. 8 while hundreds of houses were damaged.
Reporting by Muntasser Abdallah.
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