Pentagon chief calls for Lebanese Hezbollah to cease its attacks into Israel

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US Secretary of State Lloyd Austin called for Lebanese Hezbollah to cease its attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel, according to a readout of a call released Wednesday between him and Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant.

Austin ordered the deployment of two US aircraft carrier strike groups to the Eastern Mediterranean and the augmentation of fighter jets.

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Pentagon officials said the military posture increases in the Middle East were intended to serve as a deterrent signal to Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and any other proxy in the region following the Hamas attack.

Washington has voiced fears that Lebanese Hezbollah could attack Israel from the north.

After the Hamas attacks on Israel last week, there have been cross-border exchanges after rocket and missile attacks from Palestinian factions inside Lebanon resulted in Israeli retaliation against Hezbollah targets. Hezbollah has retaliated and at least ten Hezbollah militants have been killed, according to the group.

Several other countries have issued travel advisories for its citizens looking to visit Lebanon in recent days. The US warned American citizens on Tuesday not to travel there and the State Department authorized the departure of non-emergency government personnel due to the “unpredictable security situation” in the country.

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