Lebanese militant group Hezbollah should not make the “wrong decision” of opening a second front against Israel as it battles attacks by Hamas, a senior US defense official warned Monday.
“We are deeply concerned about Hezbollah making the wrong decision and choosing to open a second front to this conflict,” the official told journalists.
One of the reasons Washington is deploying a carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean is to signal that Iran-backed groups such as Hezbollah should not “question the commitment of the US government to support the defense of Israel,” the official said.
The US announced the decision on the strike group, which includes an aircraft carrier and other warships, on Sunday — a day after Hamas militants launched an unprecedented multi-pronged attack on Israel’s southern flank from the blockaded Gaza Strip, leaving hundreds of people dead.
Israel and Hezbollah have already traded fire this week, but have stopped short of the devastating full-scale war they fought in 2006 — a repeat of which would force Israel’s military to fight on two fronts, stretching its forces thin.
Hezbollah said Israeli strikes killed three of its members on Monday, after which it targeted two Israeli barracks.
The senior defense official likened the weekend attacks by Hamas to the notorious brutality of the Islamic State jihadist group, which is known by the acronym ISIS.
“This is ISIS-level savagery that we have seen committed against Israeli civilians — houses burned to the ground, young people massacred at music festivals,” the official said.
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