UNITED NATIONS – Lebanon is sending as many as 5,000 additional soldiers to the country’s south after clashes between civilians and United Nations troops and Israel’s warning that Hezbollah is preparing for a new war there.

“Some measures had to be taken to make sure no such incidents take place in the future,” Nawaf Salam, Lebanon’s ambassador to the United Nations, said in an interview Friday, referring to three attacks on French peacekeeping troops since June 29.

The commander of the United Nations’ 12,000 soldiers and civilian police in southern Lebanon appealed for calm this week in an open letter to the region’s population, while France called a meeting Friday in New York of the U.N. Security Council to receive a report.

“We wanted to emphasize the seriousness of the situation,” Gerard Araud, France’s ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters after the meeting. “These incidents have given rise to apprehension and concern. We cannot accept obstacles to freedom of movement” of U.N. troops.

The members of the Security Council “strongly deplore” the clashes with peacekeepers and urge the Lebanese army to send reinforcements to the border area with Israel, according to a statement adopted after the briefing.

The tensions came as Israel said the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah militia, considered a terrorist group by the United States, is preparing for fighting. Hezbollah fought a monthlong war with Israel in 2006.

The Israeli daily Haaretz said Israel’s army on Friday showed journalists previously classified aerial photographs of a unit of 90 Hezbollah militiamen operating in a village where they were storing weapons close to hospitals and schools.

Israel thinks Hezbollah has an arsenal of 40,000 short-and medium-range rockets and a force of 20,000 fighters, around a third of which have undergone combat training in Iran, Haaretz said.

“The very problematic events that we witnessed and the region witnessed are only a reflection of what we have been saying for four years now, which is that southern Lebanon, despite the good work of the U.N., has been hijacked by terrorism, by Hezbollah,” Daniel Carmon, Israel’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a July 1 report to the Security Council that increased tensions “raised the specter of a miscalculation by either party leading to a resumption of hostilities, with potentially devastating consequences for Lebanon and the region.”

Ban also noted Israel’s allegation in April that Syria supplied Hezbollah with Scuds, ground-to-ground missiles with a range of hundreds of miles. “Rhetoric escalated rapidly, creating a perception in the public that a resumption of conflict was imminent,” Ban said.

French troops were pelted with stones as they participated in large-scale exercises in southern Lebanon. The patrols were conducted without the usual accompaniment of the Lebanese army, which didn’t participate out of concern that the movements would be considered provocative.