Israel Palestine Conflict

US urges ‘diplomatic path’ for Lebanon tensions amid Israeli-Hezbollah standoff

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The United States called Tuesday for a focus on diplomacy to resolve tensions over Lebanon, after Israel warned it would pursue Hezbollah even if it achieves a ceasefire in Gaza.

“We do not want to see either side escalate the conflict in the north,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

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“The government of Israel has said publicly, and they have assured us privately, that they want to achieve a diplomatic path,” he said.

“That’s what we’re going to continue to pursue and, ultimately, that would make military action unnecessary.”

Miller added that Israel faced a “real security threat” with thousands of people who have fled their homes near Lebanon, calling it a “legitimate issue that needs to be addressed.”

Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia movement which is backed by Iran, have been exchanging fire since October 7, when Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out a major attack inside Israel.

In retaliation, Israel launched a relentless military operation in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Raising fears of all-out war, Israel this week struck Hezbollah positions deep into Lebanese territory.

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On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said there would be no let-up in Israeli action against Hezbollah even if ongoing diplomacy succeeds in reaching a Gaza ceasefire and the release of hostages seized on October 7.

France, with US support, has been pushing a plan in which Hezbollah and allied fighters would withdraw to around 12 kilometers (eight miles) from the border and Israel would halt attacks.

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