Iran says Lebanon’s Hezbollah can defend against Israel

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Iran’s mission to the United Nations said on Friday that Hezbollah has the capability to defend itself and Lebanon against Israel, warning that “perhaps the time for the self-annihilation of this illegitimate regime has come.”

“Any imprudent decision by the occupying Israeli regime to save itself could plunge the region into a new war,” Iran’s UN mission posted on X amid escalating tensions between Israel and Hezbollah.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Friday that fighting between Israel and Hezbollah must not turn Lebanon into “another Gaza.”

Guterres cited increased “bellicose rhetoric” from both sides as they engage in nearly daily exchanges of fire across the Israel-Lebanon border in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, and he said they risk triggering a catastrophe “beyond imagination.”

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“Let’s be clear: The people of the region and the people of the world cannot afford Lebanon to become another Gaza,” Guterres told reporters.

As Israel and Hezbollah trade cross-border fire, fears of a regional conflict are growing after Israel revealed it had approved plans for a Lebanon offensive and the Iran-backed militants vowed to blanket their foe in rockets.

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