Citing the assessment from the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), The Washington Post daily reported that Joe Biden administration officials have “privately” warned Israeli leaders against entering into direct conflict with Hezbollah.
It also cited unnamed officials as saying Israel’s military has targeted “US-funded and trained Lebanese Armed Forces” more than 30 times since the Gaza war began.
US officials are concerned that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may see an expanded fight in Lebanon as key to his political survival amid domestic criticism, the news report added.
His report came in the wake of the Israeli attack that killed senior Hamas leader Saleh Al-Arouri on Tuesday in southern Beirut.
The secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has reasserted that the killing of al-Arouri will not go without punishment, warning Israel against attacking Lebanon.
“If the enemy thinks about waging war against Lebanon, then our fighting will be with no ceiling, with no limits, with no rules. And they know what I mean,” Nasrallah said.
“We are not afraid of war. We don’t fear it. We are not hesitant. If we were, we would have stopped at the front,” he added.
“This dangerous crime will not go unanswered and unpunished.”
Hezbollah has been trading fire with Israel since early October when the Israeli regime launched a full-scale military campaign against the Palestinians in Gaza. Hezbollah’s attacks on Israeli targets are aimed at forcing the regime to end the aggression that has left more than 22,700 people dead in Gaza.
The fighting has forced the evacuation of tens of thousands from the northern part of the Israeli-occupied territories, which have been pummeled by rocket fire and shelling carried out by Hezbollah and allied Palestinian groups.
Nearly 150 Hezbollah fighters have lost their lives since the beginning of the conflict, while some 11 Israeli soldiers have also been killed.
Hezbollah has already fought off two Israeli wars against Lebanon in 2000 and 2006, forcing a humiliating retreat upon the Tel Aviv regime’s military in both cases.
The resistance movement has vowed to resolutely defend Lebanon in case of any Israeli-imposed war.
The group announced on Saturday that it hit an Israeli observation post with 62 rockets as a “preliminary response” to the recent killing of al-Arouri in Lebanon.