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Israeli army announces it has “approved” plans for offensive in Lebanon

The Israeli army announced Tuesday having approvedé operational plans for an “offensive in Lebanon”, after days of escalation with Hezbollah in the border area, on the fringes of the war in the Gaza Strip.

Exchanges of fire have been almost daily on Israel's northern border with Lebanon since the attack by the Islamist movement Hamas, an ally of Lebanese Hezbollah, against Israel on October 7, which sparked the war in the Palestinian territory.

On Tuesday, the Israeli army announced that “operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon” had been “approved and validated”, during a meeting between generals devoted to an “assessment of the situation”.

The head of Israeli diplomacy, Israel Katz, had shortly before threatened Hezbollah with destruction following a “total war”.

< p>At the same time, the envoy of American President Joe Biden, Amos Hochstein, was in Beirut where he deemed a de-escalation between Israel and Hezbollah “urgent”, speaking of a “serious situation”.

The United States wants to avoid “a large-scale war”, he said, after stopping in Jerusalem.

< p>– Bombings in Gaza –

In the Gaza Strip, bombings and fighting have experienced a relative lull since the army announced on Sunday a humanitarian pause in a sector of the south of the territory, which coincided with the start of the Muslim holiday. of Eid al-Adha.

On Tuesday, deadly Israeli bombings nevertheless targeted the city of Rafah, in the south, and the center of the territory.

Israeli army announces it has “approved” plans for offensive in Lebanon

Israeli protesters attempt to destroy a barricade near the residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a rally calling for early elections in Jerusalem, June 17, 2024 © AFP – HAZEM BADER

In the center, 13 Palestinians were taken out before dawn from the rubble of two bombed homes in Nousseirat, according to Civil Defense.

L The Al-Awda hospital in Nousseirat announced that it had received six bodies and 15 wounded “after Israeli strikes on several areas of the center and south of the Gaza Strip”.

The army announced that it would continue its operations against Hamas and its allies, particularly in Rafah where witnesses reported fighting in several neighborhoods.

Israeli army announces it has “approved” plans for offensive in Lebanon

A Palestinian searches through the rubble of a Palestinian house after nighttime Israeli strikes on the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on June 18, 2024. © AFP – Bashar TALEB

“For the past month, we have been dismantling Hamas in Rafah,” said Israeli government spokesman David Mencer. “Terrorist outposts in Shaboura and Tal al-Sultan are being defeated. We have eliminated hundreds of terrorists, discovered tunnel entrances,” he added.

The war broke out on October 7, when Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza into southern Israel carried out an attack that resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to a AFP count established from official Israeli data.

Of 251 people kidnapped, 116 are still held hostage in Gaza, of which 41 are dead, according to the army.

< IMG Alt = "Israeli Army" SRC = "https://img-4.linternaute.com/2-owuest0zbrfvomnczavalxu=/600x/smart/ae35b1c79d3d429914c606e7a5d4d9/ccmcms-lintern JPG " />A photo provided by the Israeli military on June 18, 2024 shows Israeli soldiers operating in the Gaza Strip © Israeli Army – –

In response, the Israeli army launched an offensive on the Gaza Strip, which has so far left 37,372 dead, mostly civilians, including at least 25 in 24 hours, according to data of the Ministry of Health of the Hamas-led Gaza government.

– “Change the rules” –

Despite the multiple efforts of the mediating countries, the United States, Qatar and Egypt, the prospect of a ceasefire seems distant.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assures that he will continue the war until the elimination of Hamas, in power since 2007 in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel, for its part demands a permanent ceasefire and a total Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Israeli army announces it has “approved” plans for offensive in Lebanon

US special envoy Amos Hochstein speaks to journalists in Beirut, June 18, 2024 © AFP – –

A plan announced on May 31 by US President Joe Biden, initially providing for a six-week ceasefire associated with an exchange of hostages and Palestinians held by Israel, remained dead letter.

In a message to Muslims for Eid al-Adha, Joe Biden pleaded for the implementation of this plan, emphasizing that it would was the “best way” to help victims of the “horrors” of war.

In Beirut, Mr. Hochstein affirmed that this plan also represented “an opportunity to end the conflict” on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

But Israel's foreign minister warned Tuesday that “in an all-out war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be hit hard.” “We are very close to the moment when we will decide to change the rules of the game against Hezbollah and Lebanon,” added Mr. Katz.

Israeli army announces it has “approved” plans for offensive in Lebanon

Protesters wave Israeli banners and flags during an anti-government rally in Jerusalem calling for early elections and a ceasefire to allow the release of hostages held in Gaza, June 17, 2024 © AFP – HAZEM BADER

A little earlier, Hezbollah had broadcast images presented as taken by one of its drones above Haifa, a large port in northern Israel.

The video, which AFP was unable to independently verify, identifies certain locations as, according to Hezbollah, military and energy infrastructure , others like civilian installations.

– Netanyahu under criticism –

Israeli army announces it has “approved” plans for offensive in Lebanon

Southern Gaza Strip © AFP – Sophie RAMIS, Nalini LEPETIT-CHELLA

This escalation on the Lebanese border comes as Benjamin Netanyahu faces growing criticism for his conduct of the war in Gaza.

Tuesday evening, like the day before, several thousand demonstrators gathered in front of the Parliament in Jerusalem, to demand early elections and an agreement that would allow the release of the hostages.

“We are being held hostage by a far-right government and we want this to stop,” a young physiotherapist, named Marva, who has been demonstrating against Netanyahu for “more than a year” told AFP.< /p>

Israeli army announces it has “approved” plans for offensive in Lebanon

A truck carrying humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip drives near the Kerem Shalom border crossing between southern Israel and the Gaza Strip, June 17, 2024 © AFP – Ahikam SERI

The prime minister had previously invited relatives of hostages killed in Gaza to a meeting at his residence, according to several families.

Sunday, the The army announced that it would observe a daily pause in its daytime operations “until further notice” to facilitate the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid to Gazans.

This break concerns a road section of around ten kilometers starting from the Israeli crossing point of Kerem Shalom, at the southern end of the Gaza Strip, towards the north.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116