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US envoy meets Netanyahu & Gallant as IDF eliminates Hezbollah operative after 2 quiet days on northern border

Last days saw relative quiet on border as Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Special Envoy Amos Hochstein, June 17, 2024 (Photo: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

U.S. envoy and senior advisor to President Joe Biden, Amos Hochstein, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday in a push to find a diplomatic solution to the situation on Israel’s northern border.

While Hezbollah sharply escalated its attacks over the past weeks, this Sunday and Monday saw relative quiet along the tense border, as the terror group didn’t claim any attacks in the last 48 hours after averaging over 10 attacks against Israeli targets over the past months.

Hochstein told Israeli officials that the absence of an Israeli plan for the “Day After” in the Gaza Strip significantly hampered the ability to reach an agreement with Hezbollah, according to KAN News.

In the eyes of the Biden administration, the approaching end of the IDF’s operation in Rafah signifies a potential turning point to lower the tensions with Hezbollah if Israel will act accordingly, according to the report.

Hochstein, who serves as the special presidential coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security, has been leading the U.S. mediation efforts to reach a diplomatic solution and prevent a military conflagration, which it fears could lead to a regional war.

Gallant and Hochstein held an extended one-on-one meeting followed by a bilateral discussion with professional teams, Gallant’s office stated.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meets with Senior Advisor to US President Biden Amos Hochstein, June 17, 2024. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/IMoD)

“The Minister provided a situation assessment of developments on Israel’s northern border, emphasizing the daily attacks conducted by Hezbollah against Israel’s northern communities and detailing the IDF’s efforts to thwart Hezbollah terrorists and infrastructure,” read the statement.

Netanyahu’s office didn’t release details of their meeting. Hochstein is expected to continue his regional visit by traveling to Beirut, Lebanon on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the residents of northern Israel and southern Lebanon received some respite these past two days, as Hezbollah largely suspended its attacks amid the Muslim celebrations of the Feast of Sacrifice, called Eid al-Adha.

Lebanese reports claimed that large numbers of residents of the border areas used the unofficial truce to return to their homes after having fled the area due to rocket fire exchanges.

Several videos on social media showed the destruction in Hezbollah strongholds like the town Tayr Harfa, which have been turned into launch sites by Hezbollah terrorist forces and were repeatedly hit by Israeli retaliation. The footage also highlighted the precision of Israeli strikes, with intact homes standing right next to houses reduced to rubble

While Hezbollah did not claim responsibility for any attacks, they carried out three attempted drone infiltrations into Israeli territory. The IDF stated that it shot down a drone off the coast of Acre on Monday morning.

The IDF continued launching sporadic airstrikes in Lebanon over the past 48 hours and, on Monday evening, announced it eliminated Mustafa Ayoub, a key operative in the rocket and missile array of Hezbollah’s Nasser Unit, whose commander was killed by Israel last week.

According to the IDF, Ayoub “was involved in the promotion of rocket fire at the citizens of the State of Israel, and was involved in the promotion and planning of terrorist from southern Lebanon… His elimination is part of the activities of the IDF and the security forces to damage the strengthening of the Hezbollah terrorist organization with weapons intended to harm the Israeli home front.”

His death brings Hezbollah’s death toll since it began attacking Israel last October to at least 343.

The IDF also announced that Israeli Air Force fighter jets struck Hezbollah targets in the area of ​​Mais al-Jabal in southern Lebanon.

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

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