‘We reject war,’ Lebanon tells Iranian foreign minister

BEIRUT: Lebanon wants to avoid a wider war and is seeking lasting solutions to restore peace and stability in the south, Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib said on Monday.

His remarks at a joint news conference in Beirut with Iran’s acting foreign minister, Ali Bagheri Kani, came as Hezbollah said it had launched a squadron of drones at the command of Israel’s Galilee military formation.

An Israeli military drone fired four missiles at a car on the road between the villages of Kharayeb, Zrariyeh and Kauthariyet Al-Rez on Monday, killing one person.

Iran’s acting foreign minister arrived in Beirut on Monday for a visit during which he planned to meet with Lebanese officials and representatives of Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Kani spoke with his counterpart at the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At a joint press conference, Kani said Iran “has always supported stability, security, safety and progress in Lebanon and spared no effort to promote the progress and prosperity of the Lebanese people.”

Kani emphasized that “the close relationship between Iran and Lebanon is the main indicator of stability in the region and that resistance is the basis of stability in the region.”

The Iranian official said the discussion focused on “the events in Gaza, especially in Rafah, and we agreed that it is imperative that countries in the region, especially Islamic countries, adopt a joint movement to confront Israeli aggression and protect the Palestinian people “.

“We also agreed on the initiative for an urgent meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as a joint proposal that allows us to take a decisive collective step in this regard.”

The Lebanese minister said that Kani confirmed that Iran is ready to maintain Lebanon’s stability.

Bou Habib reiterated Lebanon’s stance of rejecting war and its vision of a solution that would “restore peace and stability” by implementing UN Resolution 1701, adopted in 2006 to resolve the Lebanese war that year.

Kani’s visit to Lebanon is the first since the death of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian in a helicopter crash last month.

The talks took place as hostilities between Hezbollah and the Israeli army entered a tense new phase. On Monday, Israeli strikes hit the outskirts of Saida and Iqlim Al-Tuff – about 15 km from the southern border

Israel’s moves show “serious connotations and fears that the nearly eight-month-long operation will degenerate into open war,” a political observer said.

Israeli warplanes attacked Jabal Al-Rihan, Jabal Abou Rashed and the outskirts of Meidoun in Jezzin in five phases.

A drone collided with a motorcycle in Naqoura, killing one person and injuring another.

Other warplanes carried out mock strikes over the southern region and breached the sound wall over Al-Zahran, shattering the glass of several houses and shops in Kharayeb, Zrariyeh and Erzay, as well as the window of a special needs school in Sarafand.

Israeli artillery shelling and attacks targeted the outskirts of Mhaibib, Khiam, Aita Al-Shaab, Hanin in Bint Jbeil and Kasaret Al-Arayesh, Aramta Heights, in Iqlim Al-Tuffah.

Ali Abbas Hamieh, a researcher and writer on strategic and military affairs, told Arab News that Israel has taken its current war to a new phase.

He commented that Hezbollah has not yet announced a transition to a new level of confrontation, but believes that “ongoing military operations show that the Israeli side is no longer superior (on a) military level.”

Hamieh added that Israel “has lost its ability to hide, as its soldiers are killed in their combat positions, while Hezbollah members are targeted on their way home and not in their combat positions.”

As for the depth of Israel’s current and escalating hostilities in southern Lebanon, Hamieh sees “a change in Israel’s military strategy.”

As for Hezbollah, “they are taking proactive measures.

“Hezbollah is now attacking weapons factories in northern Israel in retaliation for any Israeli escalation inside Lebanon.”

Hamieh added: “There will be no more surprises from now on. We are in a state of military deterrence.”

He added: “I believe Israel will avoid attacking sensitive locations in Lebanon because Hezbollah knows even more critical Israeli targets to attack.

“The losses are high on both sides and the costs are high, which everyone is aware of.”

Hezbollah announced on Monday that it launched “attack drones at the new command headquarters of the Eastern Front in the Galilee Division (Nahal Gershon, east of Dishon) and at the locations of its officers and soldiers.”

It said the drones “accurately hit their targets, causing a burst of fire and killing and injuring enemy soldiers.”

Hezbollah also said the guided missiles targeted “a military vehicle at Israel’s Har Addir location and directly hit it, leading to its destruction, leaving its crew dead and wounded.”

In addition, Hezbollah targeted spy equipment at the Al-Malikiyah location with artillery shells and a group of soldiers at the Khallet Wardah location with rockets.

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