Written by 19:52 World

Israeli Defense Chief Rebuffs French Effort to End Israel-Hezbollah Fighting

Israel’s defense minister on Friday rejected a diplomatic effort by France aimed at ending months of cross-border strikes between Israel and Hezbollah that have been intensifying this week and raising fears of a full-blown war.

The United States, France and other mediators have sought for months to find a way to stop the tit-for-tat strikes between Israel and Hezbollah, a powerful militia and political faction backed by Iran, which has been launching rockets and drones into northern Israel from southern Lebanon.

More than 150,000 people on both sides of the border have been displaced by the fighting. And Israel has warned that it is prepared to take stronger action to dislodge Hezbollah militants from southern Lebanon.

This week, both sides ramped up their attacks, raising fears of another front in the war as Israel presses ahead with its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

On Thursday, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, said France and the United States had agreed in principle to establish a trilateral group with Israel to “make progress” on a French proposal to end the violence.

But Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, who has called for Israel to take a harsher tack against Hezbollah, rebuffed Mr. Macron’s overture on Friday. It was not clear if Mr. Gallant was speaking for the Israeli government.

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Last modified: 15 June 2024
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