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Govt. Calls for Avoiding 'All-Out Confrontation' with Israel, Raises ISF Personnel to 35K

The government on Thursday called for avoiding a full-blown war with Israel, a day after a Hizbullah operation killed two Israeli soldiers in the occupied Shebaa Farms, as it agreed to increase the number of the Internal Security Forces' personnel after managing to find a “middle-ground solution.”

“The cabinet discussed the situations in the South and some ministers expressed their stances in a calm debate during which all parties showed keenness on avoiding a deterioration,” Information Minister Ramzi Jreij announced after a cabinet session at the Grand Serail.

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Boroujerdi Arrives in Lebanon: Iran Keen on Preservation of Security in Lebanon

Chairman of Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi arrived in Lebanon on Thursday a day after Hizbullah launched an attack against an Israeli convoy in the occupied Shebaa Farms that left two Israeli troops dead.

He expressed upon his arrival in Beirut his congratulations to Hizbullah on its operation, which was in retaliation to an Israeli airstrike on January 18 on Syria's Quneitra region that left six party members and an Iranian general dead.

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March 14 Says Lebanese Should Ask Government to Have Decision of War and Peace

The March 14 alliance on Thursday urged the Lebanese people to back the government of Prime Minister Tammam Salam and ask it to take into its own hands the decision of war and peace.

Following a meeting, the alliance's general-secretariat encouraged “the Lebanese to stand united behind their government, and ask it to defend them and hold onto the decision of war and peace.”

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State Security Busts Kidnapping Gang Smuggling Syrians to Lebanon

The General Directorate of State Security detained in the eastern city of Zahle on Thursday an abduction gang that is specialized in smuggling Syrians into Lebanon.

The gang reportedly smuggles Syrians into Lebanese territories and kidnaps people in exchange for ransom.

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Salam Assured that Hizbullah-Israel Clash Would not Lead to War

Prime Minister Tammam Salam has received assurances from Arab and Western diplomats that the clashes which took place between Israel and Hizbullah following an attack on an Israeli military convoy would not lead to a full-fledged war.

Salam's visitors were quoted as saying on Thursday that the Prime Minister, who made contacts with the diplomats after the clashes, received guarantees that the international community will exert every effort to preserve stability in Lebanon.

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Jumblat Warns Lebanon Can't Bear New War, Lauds Hizbullah Retaliation from Syria

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat stressed on Thursday that Lebanon couldn't endure the repercussions of a new war, expressing belief that Israel can't afford to engage in any battle at this stage.

“Hizbullah acted in a smart manner by retaliating to the Israeli airstrike in Quneitra from Syria and not Lebanon,” Jumblat said in comments published in al-Mustaqbal newspaper.

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Security Council Condemns Death of Peacekeeper, Spain Blames Israel

The U.N. Security Council condemned on Wednesday the death of a Spanish U.N. peacekeeper during the Israeli military's exchange of fire with Hizbullah in a disputed border area.

The Council condemned his death in the strongest terms and offered its deepest sympathies.

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U.S. Urges Restraint after Shebaa Attack, Security Council Holds Urgent Meeting

The United States on Wednesday condemned Hizbullah's deadly operation in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms as an "act of violence," urging all parties to refrain from actions that could escalate the situation, as France requested an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that Washington did not want "an escalation of the situation."

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Mustaqbal: No Side Has the Right to Usurp Govt.'s Decisions on War and Peace

The Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc stressed on Wednesday that the government alone is responsible for issues of war and peace, adding that the Shebaa operation earlier during the day should remind all Lebanese factions of the importance of preserving stability and security.

It said in a statement after its weekly meeting: “No side has the right to usurp the will of the Lebanese people and replace the constitutional authority of the state that is tasked with making national decisions.”

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Hamas, Islamic Jihad Say 'Heroic' Shebaa Operation is Hizbullah 'Legitimate Right'

Palestinian resistance movements Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have lauded the attack carried out by Hizbullah in the Shebaa Farms on Wednesday, describing it as a “heroic” operation against the Israeli army.

“Targeting the enemy in Shebaa is the legitimate right of the resistance in the face of the occupation's arrogance and hostility,” Hamas said in a statement issued shortly after the assault.

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