US says it will be hard to end Israel-Hezbollah fighting without calm Gaza

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The US said Monday that it assesses it would be “very difficult” to reach a diplomatic solution to the cross-border exchanges between Israel and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah without calm in Gaza.

“As long as there is intense fighting in Gaza, it is very difficult to reach a solution in the north and that intense fighting poses other security challenges for Israel,” State Department Spokesman Matt Miller told reporters.

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Hezbollah began targeting Israel with rocket and missile fire shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. Since then, Israel has pounded southern Lebanon and killed scores of Hezbollah fighters and senior officials. Israel has also struck weapons depots and other Hezbollah infrastructure deep in the Bekaa Valley, closer to the Syrian border.

Hezbollah has said it would stop once the Gaza war came to an end, claiming that their attacks were meant to support Hamas militants.

Following the outbreak of cross-border fighting, the US quickly intervened to prevent the situation from further deteriorating. The last all-out war between Hezbollah and Israel was in 2006 when the two sides fought to a stalemate.

But Hezbollah has since acquired more sophisticated weapons as has been shown in recent weeks with the downing of multiple Israeli drones as well as targeting towns deep inside Israel.

Biden appointed one of his top aides, Amos Hochstein, to try to broker a deal that would cease hostilities between the two sides. So far, no agreement has been reached and there has been a new phase of intensified attacks recently.

Read more: Acting Iran top diplomat in Lebanon in first official visit since predecessor’s death

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