US urges Israel to avoid Lebanon ‘escalation’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Tel Aviv to avoid further escalation in Lebanon during a meeting with Israel’s Defense Minister Gallant as they discussed efforts to reach a deal to free captives in the Gaza Strip.

Blinken “stressed the importance of avoiding further escalation of the conflict and reaching a diplomatic resolution that allows both Israeli and Lebanese families to return to their homes”, department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Tensions have been rising with growing exchanges of fire between Israel and Lebanon’s group Hezbollah.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated Israeli forces are winding up the most “intense fighting” of the Gaza war and will redeploy troops to the northern border, although he cast the move as defensive.

Netanyahu and Gallant have previously pledged to “turn Beirut into Gaza”. The Israeli army has also announced it had approved plans for an attack on Lebanon, raising concerns that the regime might try to realize its recurrent threats of turning Lebanon into another Gaza.

Joe Biden administration has repeatedly stated that it does not wish to see yet another war break out on the northern front, urging diplomatic de-escalation.

Hezbollah and the Zionist regime have been exchanging fire along Lebanon’s Southern border almost on a daily basis since the Gaza war began on October last year.

The tensions have flared over the past week especially after Israel killed a senior Hezbollah commander last week.

The movement has retaliated by firing hundreds of rockets into the Northern parts of the occupied territories. It also published footage gathered from its surveillance aircraft of strategic locations in the Northern part of the 1948 occupied territories, including sea and air ports in the city of Haifa.

Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah has warned that the powerful group is prepared for a full-scale conflict with Israel.

“The enemy knows it must expect us on land, in the air, and at sea, and if war is imposed, the resistance will fight without constraints, rules, or limits,” he said, adding that “there will be no place safe from our missiles and drones”.

He stated the number of Hezbollah’s operatives who are ready to fight against the Zionist regime has exceeded 100,000.

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