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Biden administration concerned Israel intends to launch ground op in Lebanon in spring - CNN Report

Smoke rises from a site hit by an alleged Israeli airstrike after, near the town of Ghaziyeh on Lebanon's coast around 30 km north of the border with Israel, Lebanon Feb. 19, 2024. (Photo: Hassan Hankir/REUTERS)

According to a CNN report on Thursday, U.S. government and intelligence officials are concerned that Israel is planning a ground operation in Lebanon, which could take place at the end of spring or the beginning of summer, in case diplomatic efforts fail to push Hezbollah away from the border.

“We are operating in the assumption that an Israeli military operation is in the coming months,” one senior Biden administration official said. “Not necessarily imminently in the next few weeks but perhaps later this spring. An Israeli military operation is a distinct possibility.”

Earlier this week the Washington Post quoted an Iraqi official with close ties to Iranian-backed forces there. “Iran is doing its utmost to prevent the expansion of the war and the escalation from reaching the point of no return,” the official stated.

A Hezbollah official summarized the message conveyed by Iranian officials from a meeting held this month, indicating that the "Axis of Resistance" is on high alert as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict returns to the forefront and attempts to normalize ties with Saudi Arabia and other countries are thwarted.

According to the same source, Iranian statements directed toward Hezbollah suggest that "the outbreak of full-scale war between Lebanon and Israel will cause the loss of the advantage that the 'Axis of Resistance' currently holds."

Furthermore, the report notes that "Netanyahu is squeezed in the corner now. Don’t give him a way out. Let us not give him the benefit of launching a wider war, because that would make him a winner."

Yesterday, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi commented on the situation along the northern border, stating, “We are not waiting for anything; we are saying the following: Hezbollah decided on the evening of October 7th that it is joining the conflict and it has to pay a very big price for it.”

"I also believe, that there is no Hezbollah presence adjacent to the border fence or near it. People have returned here, and I think that if we operate correctly, more people will return here, thanks first and foremost to our security," Halevi continued. "In order to bring the people back here with security and quality of life, the state will know how to make every effort."

Yoav Zehavi is an international affairs reporter for KAN 11 news.

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