July 19, 2024

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Israel’s Benny Gantz threatens to ramp up military action against Hizbollah

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Israeli minister Benny Gantz, one of three men who make up the country’s war cabinet, has threatened to ramp up military action in the north to push Hizbollah forces, which are firing at Israel from Lebanon, further away from its border.

“The situation on Israel’s northern border demands change,” Gantz told a press conference late on Wednesday. “The stopwatch for a diplomatic solution is running out.”

“If the world and the Lebanese government don’t act in order to prevent the firing on Israel’s northern residents, and to distance Hizbollah from the border, the IDF will do it,” he said, using the acronym for the Israel Defense Forces.

Iran-backed Hizbollah has been shooting bursts of rocket fire, artillery or sending drones across the border on a daily basis in support of Hamas, which is also backed by Iran and has been fighting against Israel in the Gaza strip for the past 11 weeks. Israel has been returning fire and sending fighter jets over southern Lebanon, with every clash raising fears of the war in Gaza escalating into a wider regional conflagration.

Isolated fatalities are regularly reported by Lebanese authorities. Three people were killed by an Israeli air strike on southern Lebanon this week, including two Lebanese brothers who had Australian citizenship.

Australia said on Thursday it was investigating Israel’s claim that one of the brothers was a member of Hizbollah. At their funeral, the brothers’ coffins were draped in Hizbollah flags.

Three Lebanese journalists have also been killed by Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon since the start of the war, including a photojournalist from news agency Reuters.

Four Israeli civilians and eight soldiers have been killed in the northern clashes so far. The cross-border fighting has led Israel to evacuate civilians from a strip of the north several kilometres wide….

2023-12-28 04:31:02

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