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Iran seeks de-escalation on Israel-Lebanon border

By MIKE GU and JAN YUMUL | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-06-11 20:54

Smoke rises above Lebanon, following an Israeli strike, as seen from Israel's border with Lebanon in northern Israel, May 5, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

As tensions rise on the Israel-Lebanon border, Iran hopes the situation can be de-escalated and there is no new full-blown war in the region, with Israel urged not to launch any actions that infringe on Lebanon's territorial integrity.

Israel's actions have led to instability and insecurity in the region, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said at a press conference on June 10 in Teheran. The United Nations should take Israel's threats against Lebanon seriously, and any provocative actions that infringe on Lebanon's territorial integrity should be strongly condemned, Kanaani added.

Israeli military have said they are ready for cross-border attacks while Lebanon resistance forces said they will counter possible Israeli offensives, according to local media.

Mehran Kamrava, a professor of government at Georgetown University in Qatar, said that Iran considers Hezbollah to be a strategic ally and Lebanon to be a part of Iran's strategic steps. Any attack to Lebanon from Israel might be detrimental to Iran's military and strategic objectives.

"As a result, Iran wants to ensure that the genocide in Gaza does not extend to Lebanon. That's why, for the various reasons, Iran doesn't want to see an expansion of the conflict and war to Lebanon," he added.

The Israeli military said on June 10 that it has established a new battalion solely focused on operating the country's "Iron Dome" aerial defense system to better intercept the growing number of drones from Lebanon.

Lebanese armed group Hezbollah said on June 10 that it shot down an Israeli drone over southern Lebanon. The Iran-backed group said in a statement that its fighters ambushed a Hermes 900 drone armed with missiles and targeted it with air defense weapons before the drone could carry out its attack, Xinhua News agency reported.

A Lebanese military source told Xinhua that a surface-to-air missile launched from southern Lebanon struck an Israeli drone, causing it to catch fire before landing in the vicinity of al-Rehan mountain in Jezzine District, situated deep in southern Lebanon.

Arhama Siddiqa, a Middle East analyst and research fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad in Pakistan, said global protests and statements condemning Israel's actions are testament to their eroding legitimacy. The region teeters on the brink, unable to bear another full-scale conflict, she said.

"Any significant response from Hezbollah or other actors will likely come only after a consensus is reached among the various factions. The region is delicately balanced, and while a strategic response may occur to curb Israeli provocations, the broader aim remains to avoid an all-out conflict," Siddiqa told China Daily.

"The complex web of alliances and the potential for widespread destabilization act as significant deterrents against a full-blown war," she added.

A social media user said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on June 11: "Israel shouldn't make its wish come true, because Lebanon is supposed to be a sovereign country. All-out war with Hezbollah would draw Iran into the conflict, then who knows which Arab countries might want to side with them."

Earlier, on June 9, two members of Hezbollah were killed and three civilians injured on June 9 in Israeli airstrikes on Lebanese villages, Lebanese military sources said, according to Xinhua.

Israel's widespread use of white phosphorus in south Lebanon on June 4 has put civilians at grave risk, contributing to civilian displacement, non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch said.

Agencies and Xinhua contributed to this story.

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