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Friday, February 16, 2024

Israel warns Lebanon of becoming second Gaza

Israel warns Lebanon of becoming second Gaza

Israel has reported a fatal incident in which a guided missile from Lebanon claimed the life of an Israeli civilian in the northern part of the country. Responding to this, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern warning, cautioning that if Hezbollah were to initiate a full-scale war, the repercussions for Beirut would mirror those experienced in Gaza. The Israeli military confirmed that fighters from the Lebanese Shia group executed an antitank attack in northern Israel. Hezbollah, aligned with Hamas, claimed responsibility for one of the 11 attacks on Thursday, specifically targeting an Israeli barracks in Mattat near the Lebanese border. In response to the attacks, Israel carried out airstrikes on a Hezbollah command and control center.

Background to situation

During a visit to troops near the border, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated the potential consequences of Hezbollah’s actions, emphasizing the transformation of Beirut and southern Lebanon into conditions akin to Gaza and Khan Younis in the event of an all-out war. However, it remains uncertain if Netanyahu’s statement is directly linked to the most recent Hezbollah strike. The Israel-Palestinian conflict, ignited on October 7, intensified following a Hamas attack into southern Israel, prompting a massive Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip. Ongoing artillery exchanges near the Israel-Lebanon border have raised concerns about the emergence of a new front amid the conflict with Hamas.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu further escalated the situation by ordering the evacuation of additional communities near the border, underscoring that Hezbollah’s involvement would be a grave mistake met with an overwhelming and unimaginable force. Meanwhile, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati revealed ongoing diplomatic efforts to halt Israeli attacks and prevent the Gaza conflict from spreading. Despite these efforts, Lebanon is taking precautionary measures by developing an emergency response plan. Hezbollah, known for its Iran-backed operations, previously engaged in a war with Israel in 2006, resulting in significant casualties on both sides.