US says pressing Israel and Lebanon to halt escalation


U.S. State Department Arabic-language spokesperson Samuel Werberg has stressed that Washington does not support an expansion of the war between Lebanon and Israel.

In an interview on LBCI television, Werberg said the U.S. is pressing both sides to pacify the situation, halt the escalation and respect the U.N.-demarcated Blue Line.

He also said that tens of thousands of displaced Israeli and Lebanese citizens should return to their homes on both sides of the border as soon as possible.

Two Israeli airstrikes hit southern Lebanon Monday near the city of Sidon, wounding 14 people, in a major escalation of the confrontations between Israel and Hezbollah. Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging near-daily fire across the border since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7.

The latest uptick in violence has caused international alarm, with fears growing of another full-blown war between Israel and Hezbollah like that in 2006. Since October, cross-border exchanges have killed at least 269 people on the Lebanese side, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 40 civilians.

On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed, according to the Israeli army.

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