Top NewsIsrael-Hamas War in Gaza: Live Updates and Latest News

Israel-Hamas War in Gaza: Live Updates and Latest News



Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to President Biden, met with senior Lebanese officials in Beirut on Tuesday, where he pressed for a diplomatic solution as increasingly deadly clashes between Israel and Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah have shaped the situation in Israel. The Lebanese border is dangerously volatile.

For the past eight months, as war has raged in Gaza, another war has erupted on Israel’s northern border. At the time, Hezbollah, a well-armed and battle-tested fighting force, and the Israeli army were playing a dangerous game, flexing their muscles but launching attacks to avoid all-out war. Although the parties have taken an ostensibly measured approach, civilians have been killed and more than 150,000 displaced in both countries. Their homes on the border.

As the fighting escalates, any miscalculation risks dragging both sides into a wider escalation. Given the strength of Hezbollah’s fighting force, a full-scale war between Israel and the group could devastate both countries.

In Beirut, Mr. “The situation is serious,” Hochstein said. “We’ve seen an escalation over the last few weeks, and what President Biden wants to do is avoid further escalation to a major war.”

“It will take everyone’s interest to end this conflict now, and we believe there is a way to do it diplomatically – if the parties agree,” he said.

Hezbollah, Lebanon’s most powerful military and political force, is more powerful and better armed than it was when it last went to war with Israel in 2006. Unlike Hamas, the Palestinian militia fighting Israel in Gaza, Hezbollah’s troops are highly trained fighters and the group has long-range, precision-guided missiles that can hit targets deep inside Israel.

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In Israel, military planners see the threat of an October 7 attack by Hamas – in which Palestinian gunmen flood across the supposedly well-defended Gaza Strip – hanging over their northern border. But worryingly, similar attacks carried out by Hezbollah have also involved the group’s elite units.

Shlomo Brohm, a retired Israeli general, said the large number of weapons in Hezbollah’s arsenal — particularly its stockpile of drones — could overwhelm Israel’s air defenses in the event of a full-scale war.

Hezbollah’s fighters are also battle-hardened by experience fighting in the Syrian civil war, where they intervened on the side of the Assad regime, which is also backed by Iran, General Brohm said.

“In a no-holds-barred war, there would be great destruction on the civilian home front and deep inside Israel,” said former top military planner General Brohm. “They have the ability to target more or less anywhere in Israel, and they will target civilian targets just as we target South Beirut,” he said, referring to the capital’s districts known as Hezbollah’s strongholds.

For Hezbollah, a larger expansion is similar. Lebanon’s economy was in recession before the current crisis, and many Lebanese have little interest in a rematch of the 2006 war, a month-long war that killed more than 1,000 Lebanese and 165 Israelis and displaced more than a million people.

The current fighting began after October 7, when Hamas ally Hezbollah launched attacks on northern Israel in a show of solidarity. Israel immediately retaliated.

Last week, an Israeli strike killed senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdullah, prompting Hezbollah to increase attacks on Israel in retaliation. Over the next few days, Hezbollah launched hundreds of rockets and drones in coordinated attacks on Israel, injuring scores of soldiers and civilians.

Soldiers carry the coffin of senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdullah, who was killed in an Israeli strike in Beirut last week.debt…Wael Hamzeh/EPA, via Shutterstock

Mr. Hochstein, the US ambassador, is in the region this week in hopes of easing tensions between the two sides. On Monday, he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the country’s president and defense minister in an attempt to broker a diplomatic solution.

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Despite the dangers, Mr. Netanyahu has faced growing pressure at home to intensify the country’s military campaign against Hezbollah.

Tens of thousands of Israelis from border communities are scattered across the country with no deadline to return to their homes. And Mr. Far-right members of Netanyahu’s coalition have called for more muscular action, including the establishment of an Israeli-run “safe zone” inside Lebanese territory.

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