Iran top diplomat meets Hezbollah chief in Lebanon
November 23, 2023 06:01 PM
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has met with Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, which has traded deadly cross-border fire with Israel since the start of the Gaza war, the Lebanese movement said Thursday.
Since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, the border between Lebanon and Israel has witnessed escalating exchanges of fire, primarily involving Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah, along with Palestinian groups.
The clashes have raised fears of a broader conflagration.
In a statement, Hezbollah said Amir-Abdollahian and Nasrallah "reviewed the latest developments in Palestine, Lebanon and the region, and... the efforts made to end the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip".
Amir-Abdollahian, who warned on Wednesday that the war could spiral out of control, left Beirut for Doha after their meeting, Iran's Nour news agency reported.
Hezbollah said on Thursday morning that it fired 48 Katyusha rockets at a military base at Ein Zeitim, near the town of Safed in northern Israel, about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the border.
It said it also carried out at least 10 other attacks on Israeli positions near the frontier, and claimed to have caused casualties.
The Israeli army shelled several locations in southern Lebanon in response, said Lebanon's National News Agency.
Hezbollah says it has been acting in support of Hamas since the Palestinian Islamist movement's October 7 attacks on Israel, which Israeli officials say killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and saw about 240 people taken hostage.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas and its retaliatory air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip has killed more than 14,000 people, thousands of them children, according to the Hamas government of the Palestinian territory.
The violence between Israel and Hezbollah has claimed at least 108 lives in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah fighters, but also at least 14 civilians, including three journalists, according to an AFP count.
Six Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed on the Israeli side, according to the authorities.
Israel and Hamas on Wednesday agreed a four-day truce and a hostage and prisoner swap which was now expected top start by Friday at the earliest.
In Tehran, Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi argued that Israel had failed to reach its objectives in the war and that "the Palestinian people and resistance won a great victory", the official IRNA news agency reported.