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Israel readies troops on Lebanon border

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Israel‘s PM and prez toured northern Israel’s border and met with military commanders there Wednesday, amid escalating tensions with Hezbollah forces in Lebanon and mounting concerns from world leaders that a wider war could break out. PM Benjamin Netanyahu posted a video online during his visit of him saying Israeli forces were “determined and committed to the mission of achieving victory, and no less.”
The tours by Israeli officials along the border with Lebanon came as Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, concluded four days of meetings in Washington with senior Biden administration officials, who repeatedly stressed the need for a diplomatic solution to tensions with Hezbollah.The Iran-backed militia has been targeting Israel since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack set off a war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Tensions have flared in recent weeks.
“Hezbollah’s provocations threaten to drag the Israeli and Lebanese people into a war that they do not want,” Lloyd Austin, the US secretary of defence, said in a meeting with Gallant on Tuesday. Austin added that “such a war would be a catastrophe for Lebanon, and it would be devastating for innocent Israeli and Lebanese civilians.”
Gallant, in that same meeting, said Israel was working to “achieve an agreement”. But he added that Israel was “determined to establish security” in the north and change “the reality on the ground.” “We must also discuss readiness for every possible scenario,” he said, adding that his country could “take Lebanon back to the Stone Age, but we don’t want to do it”.
Israeli news media reported Wednesday that more troops were being sent to the northern border region. On Sunday, Netanyahu said in a TV interview that the war in Gaza was entering a new, less intense phase, allowing the military to turn more attention to Lebanon.
On Wednesday, Herzl Halevi, the Israeli military’s chief of staff, also visited the northern border with Lebanon and held a “situational assessment” with local commanders. Israeli troops in the north are training for what the military described as “extreme scenarios”. The Israeli military said Wednesday its fighter jets struck a Hezbollah military structure and targeted several other sites in southern Lebanon.
Last week, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said the Lebanese militia did not want a wider conflict but was prepared for war. “We have prepared ourselves for the most difficult days. If war is imposed, the resistance will fight without constraints, rules or limits.”





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