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Source: Al-Jazeera

Nov 23, 2023

Iran’s top diplomat discusses Israel’s war in Gaza with Hezbollah leader

Amirabdollahian warns ‘the scope of the war will expand’ if the Israel-Hamas truce does not hold.

Iran’s top diplomat has met the leader of the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah in an undisclosed location in Lebanon, discussing efforts to end Israel’s war in Gaza.

The meeting of Iran’s Hossein Amirabdollahian and Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah as Israel and Palestinian group Hamas ready for an upcoming four-day humanitarian pause and a deal that is expected to free 50 Israelis held captive in Gaza and 150 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

The warring sides are still hammering out the details of the Qatar-brokered deal, which Israel says will not take effect “before Friday”.

Amirabdollahian, speaking to the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen channel on Wednesday, warned that if the ceasefire does not hold, “the scope of the war will expand”.

Amirabdollahian left Beirut for Qatar’s capital Doha after meeting Nasrallah, Iran’s Nour news agency reported.

Israel’s northern front

Hezbollah, a close ally of Iran, has repeatedly traded deadly cross-border fire with Israel since the start of the Gaza war on October 7, raising fears of a broader conflagration.

Hezbollah said on Thursday morning that it fired 48 Katyusha rockets at an Israeli military base at Ein Zeitim, near the town of Safed about 10km (6 miles) from the border.

The group said it also carried out at least 10 other attacks on Israeli positions near the frontier, which it claimed had caused casualties.

The Israeli army hit several areas in southern Lebanon in retaliation, according to Lebanon’s National News Agency.

Hezbollah says it has been acting in support of Hamas since the Palestinian group’s surprise October 7 incursion in southern Israel, which Israeli officials say killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and saw about 240 people taken captive.

Israel has promised to destroy Hamas and launched a relentless air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, killing more than 14,500 people, about 6,000 of them children, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health.

The violence between Israel and Hezbollah has killed at least 108 people in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah fighters, but also at least 14 civilians, including three journalists, the AFP news agency reported.

Six Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed on the Israeli side, according to the authorities.

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