Lufthansa suspends overnight flights to Beirut due to Lebanon conflict

Lufthansa cited the conflict between Israel and the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah as the reason for the decision.

Germany’s Lufthansa airline has announced it will suspend night flights to Lebanon, citing the conflict between Israel and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, according to a statement the airline made to the news agency dpa on Monday.

Exchanges of rocket fire between Israel and Hezbollah have intensified in recent weeks, leading to residents on both sides of the border being evacuated. In June, the head of the Lebanese Shia militia, Hassan Nasrallah, warned that his group was prepared for a full-scale conflict with Israel and could invade the Jewish state’s northern territories in case of a further escalation.

The deteriorating situation has also drawn the attention of the UN. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned last month that “one miscalculation… could trigger a catastrophe that goes far beyond the border, and frankly, beyond imagination.”

Lufthansa said daytime flights would continue but that flights at night would be suspended for the month of July.

“Due to current developments in the Middle East, the airlines of the Lufthansa Group will suspend their night flights to and from Beirut (Lebanon) from June 29th to July 31st,” the company told dpa.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry had previously warned citizens against traveling to Lebanon due to the conflict – and Germans already in Lebanon were urgently advised to leave. “A further aggravation of the situation and expansion of the conflict cannot be ruled out,” the ministry warned.

In late June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that some IDF troops would soon shift their focus away from Gaza to the border with Lebanon, where they have been fighting Hamas since last October.

The latest spike in tensions with Hezbollah was triggered by the Israeli operation in Gaza and particularly its offensive in the city of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians had taken refuge after their neighborhoods in other parts of the enclave were bombarded.

More than 37,000 Palestinians have reportedly been killed since the start of the conflict between Israel and the Gaza-based Hamas militants. The conflict followed a surprise attack by Hamas against southern Israeli villages, which killed more than 1,100 people. The militants also took hundreds of hostages back to Gaza.