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We don’t want war with Hezbollah in Lebanon Israel preaches caution



We don't want war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel preaches caution

Israel has no interest in widening the current conflict, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has said.


Gallant was speaking against the background of an exchange of fire across the country’s northern border with Lebanon.


Speaking to Israeli troops on the edge of the Gaza Strip, Gallant said: “We do not want any escalation of the situation.”


Gallant made direct reference to the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia active in southern Lebanon.


“If Hezbollah opts for war, they will pay a very high price,” he warned.


“But if they restrain themselves, we will respect that and keep the situation as it is,” he added.


Turning to the expected ground offensive by Israeli troops deployed around the Gaza Strip, Gallant said that Israel had a job to do.


The war in Gaza would be intensive, deadly, and precise, he said, adding: “And it will change the situation forever,” he predicted.


Meanwhile, one week after the start of the latest conflict, the number of dead in the Gaza Strip has risen to 2,450, the Ministry of Health in Gaza said on Sunday.


Around 9,200 others were injured in the territory, which is under the control of Hamas, it said.


This means that the number of reported dead on the Palestinian side in just over a week is already higher than during the Gaza war in 2014, when 2,250 people died in the coastal strip within 50 days.


At that time, 66 Israeli soldiers and five civilians were also killed.


The new conflict is thus also the confrontation with the most deaths since Hamas violently took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.


Hamas massacred Israeli civilians in border towns and at a music festival on Oct. 7.


It was the worst bloodbath in Israeli history.


So far, more than 1,300 people have died in Israel, including 286 servicemen and women.


Israel responded with massive airstrikes on targets in the densely populated coastal strip.

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