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Israeli Defense Chief Rebuffs French Effort to End Israel-Hezbollah Fighting

As part of any diplomatic settlement with Hezbollah, Israel has demanded that the group withdraw its forces north of the Litani River in Lebanon, in accordance with a United Nations Security Council resolution that ended a 2006 war between the two sides. The resolution stipulated that only United Nations forces and the Lebanese army would be allowed in the area, but both sides have accused the other of violating it.

Analysts say Hezbollah is unlikely to withdraw its forces from the border. French mediators have instead proposed a smaller buffer zone that would extend about six miles beyond Lebanon’s border with Israel, and an increase in the number of Lebanese army troops stationed in the border area.

With no agreement to stop the attacks, both sides have opted for a limited escalation, with Hezbollah launching hundreds of rockets and Israel striking deeper inside Lebanese territory. Analysts and officials say that although neither Israel nor Hezbollah appears to want a full-scale war, a miscalculation could draw both sides into one.

On Tuesday, Israeli forces killed a senior Hezbollah commander in a strike in southern Lebanon, prompting Hezbollah to respond by firing some of its heaviest rocket barrages during the current conflict into Israel.

On Friday, Hezbollah launched 70 more rockets, setting off sirens across northern Israel, but they caused little reported damage, according to the Israeli military, which said it had responded with artillery fire.

The rockets were a retort to an Israeli strike overnight that targeted a three-story building in southern Lebanon, killing two people, according to a Lebanese security official. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the issue, said there was no indication that Hezbollah commanders had been killed in the strike. The Israeli military declined to comment on the strike.

On Thursday, Hezbollah’s attacks wounded four people in Israel, including two soldiers. Falling rockets, Israeli interceptors and shrapnel have also ignited wildfires that have burned over 11,000 acres in Israel over past two weeks, according to Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority.

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Nathan is an experienced journalist. He's covered a broad spectrum of topics, including politics, culture, and human interest stories, always aiming to engage and inform his audience. Nathan has a degree in Journalism and upholds the highest standards of integrity and accuracy in his work.

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