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Israel Sharpens Warning to Lebanon as Cross-Border Hostilities Spike

Smoke rises as seen from the Israel-Lebanon border in northern Israel, Nov. 12, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Israel said it was poised to impose quiet on the Lebanese front as hostilities spiked on Sunday, with Hezbollah wounding civilians in a crossborder missile attack and the Israeli air force bombing sites linked to the Iranian-backed terrorist group.

The chief Israeli military spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, described Hezbollah as “the defender of Hamas-ISIS,” in reference to the Islamist Palestinian terror group whose crossborder rampage against Israel on Oct. 7 sparked a devastating Gaza war.

Hezbollah, whose rocket arsenal is widely believed to dwarf that of Hamas, has been carrying out relatively limited attacks in solidarity with the Palestinians. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday described the Israel front as “active.”

But with at least 70 of the group’s fighters, along with several Lebanese civilians, having been killed in Israeli counterstrikes, Hezbollah’s tactics have expanded to include rockets with 300kg-500kg warheads and kamikaze drones.

On Sunday, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for a guided missile attack that Israel said wounded at least two electrical company workers sent to carry out repairs at a border community.

A mortar attack wounded seven Israeli soldiers, the military said. A rocket set off sirens near the Israeli port city of Haifa, 27 km (17 miles) from the Lebanese border, but caused no casualties. A Lebanese wing of Hamas took credit for the launch.

Israel said its air force and artillery struck Hezbollah and other targets in Lebanon in response, saying it was holding the group and the Beirut government responsible for all hostilities.

“The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] is focused on Gaza but we are at a very high state of readiness in the north,” Hagari said. “Lebanon‘s citizens will bear the cost of this recklessness, and of Hezbollah’s decision to be the defender of Hamas-ISIS.”

“The IDF has operational plans for changing the security situation in the north. The security situation will not remain one in which northern residents do not feel secure in returning to their homes,” he said in a televised briefing.

Residents of villages and towns on the Lebanese border have evacuated southward even as Gaza border communities hit by Hamas emptied, making for some 200,000 internally displaced Israelis, according to figures given to Reuters by government officials. Many southern Lebanese have also fled northward for safety.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he had appealed to Iran, which backs Hamas as well as Hezbollah, to intervene.

Interviewed on Fareed Zakaria GPS, Guterres said he asked Iran “to tell Hezbollah, ‘You cannot create a situation in which Lebanon will be completely engulfed by this conflict,’ because if Hezbollah will launch a massive attack on Israel it might create, I don’t know what kind of impact, but one thing I am sure — Lebanon would not survive.”

Asked if Iran had been responsive, he said: “I do not know. They said always that they have nothing to do with what is happening but they say publicly that there is a risk of this conflict to be extended. It’s always very mysterious, the position of Iran.”

The post Israel Sharpens Warning to Lebanon as Cross-Border Hostilities Spike first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

i24 NewsRussia’s strongman President Vladimir Putin said he would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow. Kyiv swiftly rejected the demands as tantamount to surrender.

Putin demands that Ukraine transfers to Russia four regions, including a 300,000 city of Kherson and 700,000 Zaporizhzhya as a “precondition” to “peace talks”. This man is delusional, and those in the West who speak of “negotiations” or “cease fire” are enemies of the free world. pic.twitter.com/fqTGVqMdDu

— Sergej Sumlenny, LL.M (@sumlenny) June 14, 2024

“The conditions are very simple,” Putin said, listing them as the full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Putin’s maximalist conditions apparently reflect Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand in the war.

He restated his demand for Ukraine’s demilitarization and said an end to Western sanctions must also be part of a peace deal. He also repeated his call for Ukraine’s “denazification.”

“He is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat. He is offering for Ukraine to legally give up its territories to Russia. He is offering for Ukraine to sign away its geopolitical sovereignty,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, rejecting the demands as “absurd.”

The post Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah

Illustrative. Some rises after an Israeli strike as Israeli forces launch a ground and air operation in the eastern part of Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

i24 NewsEarly this morning, tragedy struck in the southern Gaza city of Rafah as eight Israeli soldiers lost their lives in a devastating explosion, marking the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the region since January.

The IDF has confirmed the casualties, with one soldier identified as Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander from Beit Jann in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.

The names of the other seven soldiers will be released after their families have been notified.

According to initial reports from the IDF, the soldiers were traveling in a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) as part of a convoy around 5 a.m., following a successful overnight operation targeting Hamas militants in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah. During the operation, troops under the 401st Armored Brigade reportedly neutralized approximately 50 gunmen.

The convoy was en route to buildings captured by the army for the soldiers to rest, when the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy, was struck by a powerful explosion. The nature of the explosion remains under investigation, with possibilities ranging from a pre-planted bomb to an improvised device placed on the vehicle by Hamas operatives.

Initial findings suggest that explosives stored on the exterior of the Namer CEV may have contributed to the severity of the blast. Normally, such explosives are designed to minimize harm to troops inside if detonated.

The IDF probe indicates there was no gunfire preceding the explosion, and the vehicle was not stationary at the time of the incident. The circumstances surrounding the tragedy have prompted intensified scrutiny into the safety protocols and operational procedures during military movements in hostile territories.

The deaths of these eight soldiers bring the total number of IDF casualties in recent ground operations against Hamas to 307. This figure includes a police officer killed during a recent hostage rescue operation and a civilian Defense Ministry contractor also slain in the conflict.

This is a developing story 

The post Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah

Israeli firefighters work following rocket attacks from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near the border on its Israeli side, June 13, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Avi Ohayon

i24 NewsRecent actions by both Israel and Hezbollah have sparked growing concerns among U.S. officials, who fear that the situation could escalate into a full-scale war, according to reports from CBS News.

The tension has intensified following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Lebanese territory, which some American authorities believe are laying the groundwork for a larger military operation.

Sources within the US government have expressed worries that such a move could trigger a conflict that might strain Israel’s alliance with Washington.

Hezbollah, in response to recent events including the assassination of senior commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, has escalated its own actions. The group has begun launching daily rocket attacks targeting northern Israeli communities since October 8, citing solidarity with Hamas amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

US officials cited by CBS News have highlighted concerns over the potential unintended consequences of Hezbollah’s increased attacks. They fear that these actions could provoke Israel into launching a significant military assault, further exacerbating the volatile situation in the region.

The developments come amid ongoing international efforts to de-escalate tensions and prevent a wider conflict. Diplomatic channels remain active, with calls for restraint and dialogue from various quarters.

The United States, a key ally of Israel, has historically played a crucial role in mediating and influencing regional conflicts. Officials are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding actions that could escalate tensions further.

The post U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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