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IDF to push Hezbollah away from border If Lebanon, other countries fail to do so

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Jerusalem: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will push Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah away from the northern border if Lebanon’s authorities and other countries fail to do so as time for diplomatic solutions is running out, Israel’s National Unity Party head and war cabinet member, Benny Gantz, said on Wednesday.

On December 27, IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, said that the Israeli military was on high alert on the border with Lebanon and should be ready to strike.

“The situation in the north must change. The stopwatch for a diplomatic solution is running out. If the world, and the Lebanese government, won’t stop the shooting towards the northern communities from Lebanon, and won’t act to remove Hezbollah from the border – the IDF will,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted Gantz as saying.

On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant did not rule out agreements that would ensure the return of residents of northern Gaza to their homes.

On Tuesday, Israeli media reported about a kamikaze drone attack in the Upper Galilee in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon, which resulted in the death of a soldier. An Israeli citizen also received injuries in the kibbutz of Adamit as a result of a projectile launch from Lebanon.

The IDF said nine servicepeople were wounded after the moshav of Shomera was shelled by an anti-tank missile while the troops were attempting to evacuate a victim of the previous strike.

The tensions have been mounting on the Israeli-Lebanese border since the onset of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalation on October 7, with intermittent exchanges of fire and a looming threat of a two-front war for Israel persisting to date.

On October 7, Palestinian movement Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip while its fighters breached the border, opening fire on the military and civilians. As a result, over 1,200 people in Israel were killed and some 240 others abducted. Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza and launched a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages. Over 21,100 people have been killed so far in Gaza as a result of Israeli strikes, local authorities said.

On November 24, Qatar mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas on a temporary truce and the exchange of some of the prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. The ceasefire was extended several times and expired on December 1.

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