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Israel to intensify strikes on Hezbollah even if there is cease-fire in Gaza: Gallant

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published February 26,2024

Israel will intensify its strikes on the Lebanese Hezbollah group even if a temporary cease-fire is reached with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Sunday.

Gallant made the remarks during a visit to the headquarters of the Israeli army's Northern Command in Safed in the Upper Galilee near the border with Lebanon, local media reported.

"I arrived at the Northern Command today after a weekend full of events, during which the Israeli army attacked Hezbollah and struck it," he said.

"I came to examine how to intensify our firepower and our readiness to act against Hezbollah everywhere and with increasing intensity.

"We are targeting activists and targeting Hezbollah leaders. We will move forward and strike them," Gallant said.

"If anyone thinks that when we reach an agreement to release the hostages in the south (in the Gaza Strip) and the firing stops temporarily that it will alleviate what is happening here, he is wrong.

"We will continue to fire and intensify it independently of the south until we achieve our goals," he added.

"The goal is simple: to push Hezbollah back to where it should be, either by an agreement or by force."

Galant has threatened on more than one occasion to push Hezbollah beyond the Litani River in southern Lebanon through either a political settlement or military action.

Hezbollah has not commented so far on Gallant's remarks.

Hezbollah and Palestinian factions in Lebanon have been exchanging daily fire with the Israeli army since Oct. 8, against the backdrop of a devastating Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, resulting in fatalities and injuries on both sides in addition to casualties among Lebanese civilians.