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‘We won’t hold Israel back vs Hezbollah & Iran,’ US warns as regional war looms large – report

Chorus of international leaders cautions against escalation

View of a fire that started from missiles and drones launched from Lebanon near the Israeli border with Lebanon, June 23, 2024. (Photo: Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

American officials warned the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah that it shouldn’t bet on the United States holding back Israel in the event of a potential regional war that could involve Iran, Politico reported Tuesday.

The warning came just after the U.S. had warned Israel that in such a war, it may not be able to help it as much as it did during the Iranian attack back in April.

In recent days, a growing chorus of international voices has urged de-escalation between Israel and Hezbollah, as the terror group sharply escalated its attacks in recent weeks.

The unusual message is meant to deter Hezbollah and comes amid a diplomatic push by the U.S. to prevent a Hezbollah-Israel war, which has the potential to drag the whole region into the war.

Two U.S. officials told Politico that the U.S. has been relaying the threatening message through mediaries, adding that it would not only refrain from stopping Israel but would actively help defend it.

Such measures could range from replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome missile stock with expedited shipments or helping it gather intelligence to direct military support should Israel encounter a difficult situation during the war.

While Israel seems not to have made a final decision about going to war, the American officials said they don't believe Israel wants an all-out conflict.

Regarding talks with their Israeli counterparts, the officials stated, “The focus is on injecting reality into Bibi [Netanyahu]’s calculations.”

“Israel’s gotta do what they gotta do,” an unnamed U.S. Defense Department official noted.

Despite both sides not wanting to turn the current tit-for-tat exchanges into an all-out war, U.S. officials reportedly estimate the risk has never been higher, as both sides could miscalculate and be dragged into conflict.

On Tuesday, the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida cited an official in Iran’s Supreme National Security Council claiming that Iran warned the U.S. it would enter a war between Israel and Hezbollah and attack Israel from “different directions.”

The official added that Iran warned the U.S. not to support an Israeli attack, as this would make American forces and interests in the region “legitimate targets.”

“We think there ought to be a diplomatic resolution to the conflict across the Israel-Lebanon border that is keeping tens of thousands of families on each side of the border from returning to their homes,” State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller told the press on Monday.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned against “the risk of an unintended escalation and of all-out war,” which is “growing by the day,” she said at a conference in Israel on Monday at the start of her regional tour.

“We are extremely concerned about the increase in violence at the northern border. I will pay a visit to Beirut tomorrow, again, exactly for this reason, where many also do not want another war,” she said.

Baerbock stressed that Israel has a right to defend itself against Hezbollah, which “started this violence” forcing the evacuation of “tens of thousands of Israelis from their homes. No country in the world should have to accept that.”

European Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell also warned about the potential for the conflict to expand across the region.

“The risk of this war affecting the south of Lebanon and spilling over is every day bigger,” Borrell said ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

Last week, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that no place in Israel would be safe in a war, and even threatened EU member Cyprus not to help Israel.

“It is absolutely unacceptable to make threats against a sovereign state of the European Union,” Greek Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis said on Tuesday. “We stand by Cyprus and we will all be together in all kinds of global threats coming from terrorist organizations.”

The situation on the northern border was a key topic during recent meetings between Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and U.S. officials.

Gallant stressed the “importance of the U.S. standing with Israel in this mission, and its impact on the actions taken by Hezbollah and Iran,” in a meeting with State Secretary Antony Blinken.

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

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