The White House has discussed the possibility of employing U.S. military force if Hezbollah launched full-scale attacks on Israel, Axios reported, citing three U.S. officials and one Israeli official with knowledge of the situation.
Sporadic cross-border skirmishes involving the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Lebanese Hezbollah, a designated terrorist organization that receives support from Iran, have reinforced fears Hezbollah would bring the war in Israel to two fronts with a full-on onslaught. White House officials are thinking about what might happen if the intensity heats up while doing everything possible to prevent that scenario, Axios reported, citing two of the U.S. officials.
Any decision would take into account the scope of Hezbollah’s attack and what Israel needs to respond, the officials told Axios.
Hezbollah launched rocket attacks on Tuesday and Israel responded by attacking Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement. Hezbollah announced the deaths of four more operatives Tuesday, according to Al-Jazeera.
Two IDF soldiers were injured in a Tuesday missile attack coming from Lebanon, the IDF said.
Austin pledged American pilots and aircraft to support the Israeli military in exchange for a pledge from Israel not to launch a preemptive attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israeli media outlet Ynet reported on Monday, according to a translation of the report in i24 News. The Department of Defense did not answer the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request to verify the report.
The Pentagon has said there are no plans to have American boots on the ground in combat roles.
The Biden administration has warned Hezbollah several times publicly and privately against escalating the conflict, according to Axios.
The U.S. has already deployed two aircraft carrier strike groups to the eastern Mediterranean as a show of force intended to deter potential belligerents from getting involved in the Israel-Hamas war.
“This rapid increase in posture is intended to send to both state or non-state actors. The United States is unequivocal in its support for the defense of Israel and is sending a warning to any entity that would consider taking advantage of this conflict and this war to escalate violence — one word, quite simply: don’t,” a senior defense official told reporters on Thursday.
Hezbollah is not a participant in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which is located in the Gaza Strip on Israel’s western side.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has said Israel does not want to fight a war with Hezbollah but that it could only hold back for so long if Hezbollah keeps firing rockets at Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“There are incidents on the border, this does not mean that Hezbollah has decided to fully enter the war,” a Hezbollah spokesperson told the outlet.
Hamas’ unexpected incursion into Israel was a “rehearsal” for additional attacks by terrorist organizations, Ibrahim al-Moussawi, a Lebanese member of parliament and spokesperson for Hezbollah, said in the days after the attacks.
The White House and the National Security Council did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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