Israeli attack kills dozens at school complex where civilians sought shelter: Live updates

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Wednesday threatened more military action against Hezbollah in Lebanon, amid growing speculation of another all-out war, even as Israel fights with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Two days after Hezbollah militants launched a barrage of rockets and exploded drones from Lebanon into northern Israel, causing several forest fires, Netanyahu visited soldiers and firefighters in the area. and said the Israeli army was ready to attack.

“Anyone who thinks he can hurt us and we will respond by standing by is making a big mistake,” he said, according to the Israeli government. “We were prepared for very intense action in the north. One way or another, we will restore security to the north.”

Other Israeli officials have threatened war in Lebanon against Hezbollah, which has stepped up attacks on northern Israel since the war between Israel and Hamas began in October. But the belligerent talk has strength. The heavier comes from the highest levels – not just the prime minister but also the army chief of staff and a cabinet minister.

Israeli forces and Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia and political faction that exercises de facto control over southern Lebanon, have exchanged attacks for months, forcing the forces to stop working. More than 150,000 people on both sides of the border had to flee.

On Monday, Lebanese television network Al Manar, controlled by Hezbollah, said the group fired at Israeli soldiers in several locations near the border, causing fires and claiming to have caused casualties.

According to Israeli news agencies, one of the most intense fires threatened homes in the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona, near the Lebanese border. That city, like much of the Israeli border area, has suffered most have been evacuated for monthsand no casualties were reported.

On Wednesday, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for another drone attack in the area. The Israeli military said two drones landed in the Hurfeish area, a Druse village whose citizens are mainly from Israel’s Arab-Israeli minority. At least 11 people were injured, including one critically. According to the Israeli military, no sirens warned of the attack and said it was looking into the incident.

Such attacks – and threats of more direct military action – have raised concerns about the prospect of Israel waging a two-front war.

On Wednesday, Matthew Miller, a State Department spokesman, said the Biden administration remains “extremely concerned” about the risk of escalation between Israel and Hezbollah.

“That said, the Israeli government has long asserted — privately to us and they have also said it publicly — that their preferred solution to this conflict is the diplomacy and we continue to pursue a diplomatic solution,” he said. Miller said.

Biden administration held negotiations with Israel and Lebanon, exchanged messages with Hezbollah through intermediaries. The talks aim to move Hezbollah forces away from the border, according to Lebanese and Israeli officials and other participants.

But Hezbollah has repeatedly said it will not negotiate until the war in Gaza ends, and Israeli military officials said this week that they were increasingly frustrated with Hezbollah attacks.

“We are approaching the moment when a decision must be made and the IDF is ready and prepared for that decision,” Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the Israeli army chief of staff, said on Tuesday.

Far-right leaders in Israel have called for war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. “The time has come,” Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s Finance Minister, said on social media Wednesday. “There is complete support from all Israelis.”

Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978, 1982 and 2006 in an effort to root out armed militants who launched attacks on Israel.

Adam Rasgon And Ephrat Livni Report contributions.

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