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Israeli Minister Gantz says situation on Lebanese border ‘demands change’ | Israeli-Palestinian conflict News

The Israeli war cabinet member’s comments are the latest to hint at the possibility of escalation with Hezbollah.

Israeli Senior Minister Benny Gantz said the situation on the country’s border with Lebanon “must change”, hinting at the possibility of a military escalation with the armed group Hezbollah.

Gantz, a member of Israel’s emergency war cabinet, told reporters on Wednesday that the chances of a diplomatic solution to trade between Israel and armed groups in southern Lebanon were fast drying up.

“The situation on Israel’s northern border demands change,” Gantz said at a news conference.

“The clock for a diplomatic solution is running out. If the world and the Lebanese government do not act to prevent the shooting of residents of northern Israel and to keep Hezbollah from the border, it is (the Israeli army) that will do it. »

The remarks are the latest to raise fears that Israel’s military campaign in Gaza could explode into a broader regional conflict, drawing in Iranian-backed groups such as Hezbollah.

Israel and Hezbollah, along with a handful of small armed groups operating in southern Lebanon, have settled into a steady rhythm of retaliatory exchanges since fighting between Hamas and Israel began on October 7, when the group launched an attack on southern Israel that killed more than 1,100 people.

Since then, Israel has relentlessly bombed Gaza in a “genocidal” campaign, killing more than 21,000 people, mostly women and children, and displacing almost all of its 2.3 million residents. .

The Israeli offensive in Gaza has sparked tensions along the Israel-Lebanon border, as intermittent exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah were reported in the deadliest clashes since the two sides waged a large-scale war in 2006.

Tens of thousands of people have also been displaced in Israel and Lebanon, and more than 150 people, mostly Hezbollah fighters, have been killed on the Lebanese side since the exchanges began, according to a tally compiled by the agency. AFP press release. This figure includes 20 civilians, including three journalists, the agency said.

On Tuesday, a Hezbollah attack injured 11 people in northern Israel while an Israeli attack on Bint Jbeil killed three people, including a Hezbollah fighter.

“Israeli military planes are currently targeting towns that are even very far from the border,” Al Jazeera correspondent Ali Hashem reported from Bint Jbeil.

“The fact is that this area is now becoming a real war zone, it is becoming very dangerous, very risky to go around it, with the fact that we always expect an Israeli drone,” he said. he added.

So far, however, such exchanges have not resulted in a more serious confrontation that would come at a high cost for both sides, as well as for civilian populations living in communities near the Israeli-Lebanese border.

The limited nature of the fighting had allayed initial fears of a wider war. But in recent weeks, Israeli officials have suggested they may take stronger action against Hezbollah, even as Israel’s campaign in Gaza comes under increasing scrutiny.

Speaking on Wednesday during a tour near the border, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said Israel could target Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, a move that would almost certainly spark a broader conflict with that formidable armed group with close ties to Iran.

“We will act to make the most of the diplomatic option,” Cohen said. “If it doesn’t work, all options are on the table.”

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