Lebanon fears escalation between Israel and Hezbollah

After Israel has killed Wissam Tawil, the senior commander of Hezbollah’s elite Radwan forces, and Hezbollah wounded 2 000 Israeli soldiers since October 7, a conflict escalation became strongly dreaded inside Lebanon, especially afterwards Israel had bombed Beirut and had killed Hamas senior leader Saleh Al-Arouri.

“The idea of opening the war front is extremely dangerous, and the only solution is through diplomatic means,” said Elias Bou Saab in the name of the Lebanese government during a meeting with Egypt’s ambassador to Lebanon, Alaa Moussa.

Bou Saab insisted on the “importance of continuing to exert diplomatic efforts to reach a solution to end the war and then transition to the post-ceasefire stage in Lebanon, including the issue of demarcating the land borders.”

In addition, the Lebanese civil society figures claimed, in an important gathering, that the country has to remain neutral on the war on Gaza, reported Arab News plus agencies.

According to the same media outlet, The Greater Lebanon State Gathering has reunited heads of religious communities, political parties, and diplomatic, social, academic and union leaders to the Maronite Patriarchate headquarters.

The event was supervised by Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi.

According to Arab News plus agencies, former President Amin Gemayel called for “reclaiming Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence and unity by establishing neutrality.”

He also said: “The time has come for Lebanon to rescue itself by having all components embrace being fully Lebanese first. This would complete Lebanon’s national identity and unify it without privileges, only guaranteeing it through a strong and capable state unless we want Lebanon to be divided into areas of influence based on the interests of others at the expense of the national interest.”

Former Minister Ashraf Rifi demanded “reclaiming sovereignty, lifting guardianship, protecting the constitution and activating institutions.”

Then he added: “We vow to prevent Lebanon from being turned into an arena for settling regional scores. We will restore the state’s stature. The army and legitimate security institutions will be the only ones responsible for security. We vow to confront militia weapons, liquidation, assassination and terrorism.”

Activist Hayat Arslan talked about “positive neutrality,” adding that it “protects us, adheres to international resolutions, and makes Lebanon a state of law and institutions.”

On January 18, “Israeli media reported the firing of at least five shells from Lebanon toward the Al-Manara settlement in the Upper Galilee region”, wrote Arab News and agencies.

The same media outlet reported that an Israeli drone bombed a car in Souk El-Khan near Kawkaba on January 18. Israel also attacked the outskirts of Kawkaba.

Furthermore, an Israeli drone fired a missile into the garden of a home in the center of the town of Kawkaba, causing serious damages to the site. A shell also was launched between houses in the Libanese town of Hula.

Israel also bombarded the outskirts of the towns of Rab El-Thalathine, Al-Taybeh and Odaisseh.

The Israeli army also targeted the area between Al-Dhayra and Yarin, and the eastern outskirts of Mays Al-Jabal with phosphorus bombs.

READ: Israel kills a soldier of the Lebanese national army

The Israeli army also attacked forest areas near the town of Aita Al-Shaab.

Jets were seen flying over the west, reaching the villages and towns of the Tyre district.

“Air Force warplanes raided Hezbollah infrastructure in the Odaisseh area, and the Israeli army attacked Kfarkela and Marjayoun”, wrote Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee said in a post on his X account.

He added that “two shells were fired from Lebanon toward the Arab Al-Aramshe area and landed in open areas.”

In the morning of January 8, the Israeli army attacked Al-Abad military site which overlooks the town of Hula. It also hit Tallet Hamames, the Marjayoun Plain, and the Hura and Aaziyyeh areas in Deir Mimas.

Israeli planes continued to fly over the villages of the western and central areas of Southern Lebanon during the night, reaching Litani River.

At the same time, Israel launched flare bombs over villages at Blue Line borders.

On January 17, the Israeli army escalated its attacks by bombing the outskirts of Tyre’s Qalileh town, an extension of the Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp where Hamas member Walid Hassanein was killed and others were wounded

Arab News plus agencies.

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