The United States said Friday it supported ally Israel’s right to self-defense after deadly attacks as well as rocket fire from Lebanon that triggered Israeli strikes.
“The targeting of innocent civilians of any nationality is unconscionable. The United States stands with the government and people of Israel,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said in a statement.
Read more: Enemies of Israel will ‘pay a price’ – Netanyahu
The United States also voiced support for Israel over Lebanon, without explicitly backing the Jewish state’s strikes on its northern neighbor in response to the rocket fire by militants.
“As we urge de-escalation on all sides, we recognize Israel’s ability to exercise its inherent right to self-defense,” another State Department spokesperson said.
“The use of Lebanon as a launchpad for rocket attacks against Israel only puts Lebanon at risk and increases the potential for further conflict,” he said.
Violence has soared since Wednesday when Israeli police clashed with Palestinians inside Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, just as believers in the world’s three major monotheistic religions were celebrating major holidays.
On Friday, two British-Israeli sisters aged 16 and 20 were killed and their mother seriously wounded in a shooting attack in the occupied West Bank, while an Italian tourist was killed and seven other people wounded in Tel Aviv when a car rammed into people walking on a cycling path.
Read more: Israel strikes Lebanon, Gaza after rocket fire from both
The vocal US support for Israel comes after an unusually public spat as President Joe Biden pressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to drop a bid to weaken the judiciary.
The plan by the hard-right government, which Netanyahu has put on hold, has set off major protests by Israelis who say it violates democratic principles.