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France urges Lebanese leaders to work for calm on border with Israel – Magazine Creations

BEIRUT (AP) — France’s foreign minister urged Lebanese leaders Monday to work to reduce tension along the border with Israel, warning that the Israel-Hamas war could spread to other parts of the region.

Catherine Colonna’s visit to Lebanon came a day after she visited Israel, where she called for an “immediate ceasefire” aimed at freeing more hostages, moving more aid to Gaza and moving towards “the beginning of a political solution”.

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While in Beirut, Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group exchanged fire with Israeli troops along the tense border, which has seen violent exchanges since Oct. 8 — a day after the Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked southern Israel, killing 1,200. people, mostly civilians.

In Beirut, Colonna held talks with Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati and parliament speaker Nabih Berri about the situation on Lebanon’s southern border. Officials from France, once Lebanon’s colonial ruler, have visited Lebanon in the past two months, urging calm. In recent years, Lebanon has been in the grip of the worst economic crisis in its modern history, which has significantly destabilized the country.

Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group backed by Iran, are bitter enemies who last fought a war in the summer of 2006. Israel estimates that Hezbollah has about 150,000 rockets and missiles on Lebanese soil, with target Israel.

During the meeting with Colonna, Mikati called on Israel to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 war, saying Israel must abide by it, according to a statement released by his office. He was apparently referring to almost daily violations of Lebanese airspace by Israel’s air force.

The resolution also states that the border area in southern Lebanon must be “free of all armed personnel, assets and weapons” except for Lebanese government forces and UN peacekeepers. According to the resolution, Hezbollah should not have a military presence in the border area.

A day after the start of the Hamas-Israel war, Hezbollah fighters attack Israeli positions along the Lebanon-Israel border. Israeli tanks, artillery and air force have also hit areas on the Lebanese side of the border.

“The risks of the conflict spreading are still high,” Colonna said, adding that she came to Lebanon to urge all parties to avoid expanding the conflict. “I am very concerned … the escalation must stop.”

On Friday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said during a visit to Israel that a “negotiated outcome” was the best way to reassure residents of northern Israel, where tens of thousands of its citizens have been evacuated by Israeli forces. towns and villages along the border. with Lebanon. Some have said they do not plan to return home as long as Hezbollah fighters are across the border in Lebanon.

Earlier on Monday, Lebanon’s state-run news agency reported that an Israeli drone fired a missile at a building near the site of a funeral for a Hezbollah fighter in a southern border village, causing no casualties. On Sunday, Israeli strikes killed three Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon. more than 100 Hezbollah fighters have been killed since October 8.

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In Monday’s strike, the rocket hit the roof of a building about 40 meters (yards) from a square where the funeral of Hezbollah fighter Hassan Maan Suroor was being held in the border village of Aita al-Shaab, the state-run National News Agency reported. .

Hezbollah claimed to have targeted one of the batteries of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense systems in northern Israel, while the Israeli military said its warplanes struck a number of Hezbollah targets on Monday, including infrastructure, a launch site and a military site.

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