The US Secretary of Defense calls for urgent diplomacy to avoid war between Israel and Hezbollah Gaza News

In a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned of the “disaster” of a broader war.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said a diplomatic solution was needed to avoid a costly war between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

During his meeting with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant on Tuesday, Austin blamed the escalating tensions on Hezbollah “provocations,” but noted that an all-out war would be devastating for all parties involved and could spark a regional conflagration.

Diplomacy is the best way to prevent further escalation. Austin told reporters, “We are urgently seeking to reach a diplomatic agreement that will restore lasting calm to Israel’s northern border and enable civilians to return safely to their homes on both sides of the Israeli-Lebanese border.”

Hezbollah and Israeli forces have exchanged fire almost daily since the beginning of the war in Gaza, but the escalating attacks over the past few weeks have caused increasing concern.

Gallant has often indicated that Israel may launch a large-scale war against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Gallant said Tuesday that he was “working closely” with Austin to find a diplomatic solution, but they also discussed “military preparedness for every possible scenario.”

While Israel has blamed Hezbollah for displacing thousands of Israelis from their homes near the Lebanese border, the Iran-linked group has indicated throughout the conflict that it is not interested in a broader war.

Thousands of Lebanese civilians were displaced from areas near the border with Israel, and more than 80 civilians and non-combatants were killed. In Israel, 11 civilians have been killed since October.

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Hezbollah is considered one of the most advanced and well-armed paramilitary groups in the world, and a larger conflict between the group and Israel could have devastating effects on each side.

While the administration of US President Joe Biden has repeatedly urged Israel to avoid war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, it recently stated that if such a move occurred, Israel would receive full American support.

“Such a war would be a disaster for Lebanon and would be devastating for innocent Israeli and Lebanese civilians,” Austin said.

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