Israel vows to target Hezbollah even if cease-fire reached in Gaza

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has said that Israel would increase its strikes on Hezbollah even if a ceasefire is reached in the Gaza Strip.

“We are planning to increase the firepower against Hezbollah, which is unable to find replacements for the commanders we are eliminating,” Gallant said during a visit to the Israeli army’s Northern Command headquarters in Safad.

Hezbollah has said that it would abide by any Gaza truce.

Gallant emphasized that strikes on Hezbollah would continue even if Israel signed a hostage deal with Hamas, which would see a pause in fighting in Gaza and the release of Palestinian prisoners in return for freeing the hostages held in the Strip.

“In the event of a temporary truce in Gaza, we will increase the fire in the north, and will continue until the full withdrawal of Hezbollah (from the border) and the return of the residents to their homes,” he said, referring to some 80,000 Israelis displaced by the fighting.

“The goal is simple -- to push Hezbollah back to where it should be. Either by an agreement or by force,” Gallant added.

Since October 8, Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging near-daily fire but strikes have been largely contained to the border area -- although Israel has on occasion launched strikes elsewhere in Lebanon, including in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

At least 278 people have been killed on the Lebanese side since fighting erupted, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 44 civilians. On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed according to the Israeli army.

Source: Naharnet

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