US calls on Israel to avoid 'escalation' of Lebanon's Gaza conflict

US calls on Israel to avoid ‘escalation’ of Lebanon’s Gaza conflict

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Israel this Monday, June 24, during a meeting with its Defense Minister, to avoid a new escalation in Lebanon, while discussing efforts to reach an agreement on the release of hostages held in Gaza.

“Anthony Blinken stressed the importance of avoiding a further escalation of the conflict and reaching a diplomatic solution that allows Israeli and Lebanese families to return home,” said State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller , in a press release reporting on the meeting with Yoav Gallant, visiting Washington.

“Diplomatic efforts to ensure security”

The war between Israel and Hamas has sparked a military escalation on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, raising fears of an extension of the conflict.

Exchanges of fire between the Israeli army and Lebanese Hezbollah, a powerful Islamist movement allied with Hamas, armed and financed by Iran, have led to the displacement of tens of thousands of residents of the border areas of southern Lebanon and the northern Israel.

The head of American diplomacy also “insisted” on the need for Israel to do more to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip, and he spoke of “diplomatic efforts to ensure security, governance and reconstruction in Gaza” once the conflict is over, according to the text.

In remarks made before his meetings, the Israeli Defense Minister pledged to do everything for the return of the hostages from Gaza and called for close cooperation with the United States, after the tensions of recent weeks.

Yoav Gallant met with the head of the CIA, Bill Burns, the main American responsible for negotiations aimed at obtaining a cease-fire and freeing the hostages held by Hamas.

“I would like to emphasize that Israel’s primary commitment is to return the hostages, without exception, to their families and homes,” Yoav Gallant said. “We will continue to make every effort to bring them home,” he added.

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