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US Secretary of State Blinken cautions Israel against further escalation of conflict with Lebanon

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, during his meeting with Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on Monday (local time), underscored the importance of avoiding further escalation of the conflict, as tensions between Israel and Lebanon have further escalated the conflict in the Middle East.

Secretary Blinken discussed ongoing efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and also spoke about the efforts to advance security, governance, and reconstruction in Gaza during a post-conflict period.

“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant today. They discussed ongoing efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza that secures the release of all hostages and alleviates the suffering of the Palestinian people,” US State Department spokesperson, Mathew Miller said in a statement.

He further emphasised the need to take additional steps to protect humanitarian workers in Gaza and deliver assistance throughout Gaza in full coordination with the United Nations.

Blinken updated Gallant on ongoing diplomatic efforts to advance security, governance, and reconstruction in Gaza during a post-conflict period and emphasised the importance of that work to Israel’s security.

He also underscored the importance of avoiding further escalation of the conflict and reaching a diplomatic resolution that allows both Israeli and Lebanese families to return to their homes. Secretary Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security, the statement added.

Tensions between Israel and Lebanon have risen sharply since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the ensuing military campaign by Israel in Gaza. The Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah has been firing missiles, mortars and drones into Israel, and Israel has returned that fire, CNN reported.

Tens of thousands of people on both sides of the mountainous border have fled as concerns intensify about the possible outbreak of another full-fledged war.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, that Israel is prepared to pause the ongoing fight, in exchange for a partial deal for the return of hostages in Gaza, but the “war will not end” until Hamas is destroyed, according to The Times of Israel.

Netanyahu added that as Israel gets ready for a possible all-out war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has been stepping up its cross-border strikes on Israel, the intense battle phase in the Gaza Strip is also winding down. (ANI)

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