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Biden administration warns Israel: A 'limited war' with Hezbollah could unleash expanded Iranian response

A forest fire caused from rockets fired from Lebanon, near the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona, June 4, 2024. (Photo by Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Two senior Biden administration officials warned Israel in recent weeks that a “limited war” against Hezbollah in Lebanon or a “small regional war” could ignite a powerful response from the Iranian regime and its regional terror alliance, according to Israel's Walla news outlet

The Biden administration is reportedly concerned that masses of pro-Iranian terrorists from Syria, Iraq and Yemen would join the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon against Israel and has attempted to prevent the war from expanding into a regional conflict since Oct. 7.

Israeli political leaders have tried to avoid a full-scale war with Hezbollah amid the ongoing operations in Gaza to eliminate the Hamas terrorist organization from remaining in control. However, Hezbollah’s escalating attacks on northern Israel continue to challenge Israel's policy of restraint. Until now, Israel Defense Forces has been targeting individual terrorist leaders in Lebanon, such as senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri and Hezbollah Southern Front Commander Hussein Ibrahim Makki.

In northern Israel, tens of thousands of Israeli civilians have been evacuated from their homes due to the ongoing Hezbollah attacks against communities and military bases in the region. After eight months of unrelenting war, it is still unclear when displaced residents will be able to return to their homes.

Israeli military and political leaders increasingly recognize that the growing threat from Hezbollah is untenable and needs a powerful response.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi warned that Israel is increasingly close to a decision point concerning Hezbollah.

“We are approaching the point where a decision will have to be made, and the IDF is prepared and very ready for this decision,” Halevi stated during an inspection of the border between Israel and Lebanon this week.

“We have been attacking here for eight months and Hezbollah is paying a very, very high price. It has intensified its attacks in recent days, and we are prepared after a very good process of training up to the level of the general staff to go on the attack in the north…we are approaching a decision point, the IDF chief added.

Israel has indicated it prefers a diplomatic solution to the conflict but stressed it would resort to using military force to remove the longstanding Hezbollah threat from its northern border, if necessary.

France, which has a strong influence in Lebanon, has also tried to find a diplomatic solution to the Hezbollah threat. In February, France proposed a withdrawal of Hezbollah forces from the border as a key component in a potential ceasefire agreement between Lebanon and Israel.

“We made proposals. We are in contact with the Americans and it’s important that we bring together all initiatives and build peace,” French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné stated.

However, Hezbollah rejected the French proposal to withdraw its troops from the southern Lebanon border with Israel.

Dozens of Israelis and at least 300 Hezbollah terrorists, including senior terrorist commanders have been killed in the ongoing fighting. Hezbollah is widely considered one of the world’s most powerful non-state actors with greater firepower than the Lebanese army and many other conventional militaries. The threat was evident even the summer before the start of the war in Gaza, when mayors warned that Hezbollah was increasingly able to act with impunity along the border.

At the center of Hezbollah’s power is the terrorist militia’s vast arsenal of over 150,000 missiles and rockets that can reportedly reach any point inside Israeli territory. In addition, Iran has also provided Hezbollah with a large number of increasingly sophisticated drones that are used to penetrate Israeli airspace.

In May, one Israeli was killed and five citizens injured in a Hezbollah missile attack on northern Israel.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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