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23 Jan, 2024 13:23

War with Lebanon ‘won’t be a picnic’ for Israel – Beirut

The warning follows comments by IDF commanders regarding a potential conflict between the two countries
War with Lebanon ‘won’t be a picnic’ for Israel – Beirut

Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib has warned West Jerusalem against engaging in a war with his country, after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff claimed that the possibility of a conflict with Beirut has grown.

On Monday, Bou Habib held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN headquarters in New York. The latter stressed that the involvement of other countries, including Lebanon, in the fighting between Israel and the Palestinian armed group Hamas would be “unacceptable.”

Following the meeting, Lebanon’s top diplomat was asked by journalists about the possibility of a conflict with Israel. “I hope they [the Israelis] understand that a war with Lebanon won’t be a picnic for them,” he replied, as cited by TASS.

Last week, the IDF chief of staff, Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, claimed that the possibility of a conflict with Beirut “in the coming months is much higher than it was in the past.” Israeli forces are “increasing readiness for fighting in Lebanon, we have a lot of lessons from the fighting in Gaza,” Halevi said while attended IDF drills simulating an offensive against the Jewish state’s northern neighbor.

IDF commanders have made similar statements since the start of the operation in Gaza in response to the incursion into Israel by Hamas on October 7, Bou Habib noted, stressing that “we don’t welcome such rhetoric.”

There have been almost daily exchanges of fire between the Israeli military and Lebanon’s Hezbollah in the border area in recent months, with the group saying that its actions are aimed at tying up IDF forces to prevent their deployment to Gaza. In early January, Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri was killed in an alleged Israeli drone strike in Beirut, and Hezbollah vowed revenge for his death.

On Tuesday, the Lebanese foreign minister also gave an interview to Russia 1 TV, expressing hope that Russia would “play an important role” in reducing the growing tensions in the Middle East.

”A war is currently being waged [between Israel and Hamas], and armed clashes with the Israeli army in Southern Lebanon are taking place. But I know that, if there is any opportunity for peace, Russia will work toward establishing peace in any case,” Bou Habib said.

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