Israel doesn't want war but warns Hezbollah

A photo taken from southern Lebanon shows smoke billowing in the Israeli northern town of Metulla from cross-border rockets launched from the Lebanese side on 26 June, 2024.AFP

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on a visit to Washington that his country does not want war in Lebanon but was ready to inflict "massive damage" on Hezbollah if diplomacy fails.

"We do not want war, but we are preparing for every scenario," Gallant told reporters during the visit that ended Wednesday.

"Hezbollah understands very well that we can inflict massive damage in Lebanon if a war is launched," he said.

Tensions have been rising, with growing skirmishes along the border between Israel and the Iranian-backed militia, since the October 7 attack by Hamas that prompted a relentless Israeli retaliatory campaign in Gaza.

Gallant said that Israel has killed more than 400 Hezbollah "terrorists" in recent months.