RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel's military on Saturday issued its most detailed warning yet to Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon that it would be “ready to attack immediately” if provoked, as it recounted its actions along the northern border during four months of war in Gaza and made a rare acknowledgement of dozens of airstrikes inside Syria against the militant group.
“We do not choose war as our first priority, but we are certainly prepared,” military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said, adding: “We will continue to act wherever Hezbollah is present, we will continue to act wherever it is required in the Middle East. What is true for Lebanon is true for Syria, and is true for other more distant places.”
The comments followed the defense minister's warning that a cease-fire in Gaza against the militant group Hamas wouldn't mean Israel wouldn't attack Hezbollah as needed.
Efforts to close wide gaps between Israel and Hamas in pursuit of a cease-fire continued in the region where concerns about a wider war with Iran-allied groups remain. A top Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, said they were studying the proposal put forward by the U.S., Egypt, Qatar and Israel but insist on Israel accepting conditions including a permanent cease-fire.
The war in Hamas-run Gaza has leveled vast swaths of the tiny besieged enclave, displaced 85% of its population and pushed a quarter of residents to starvation. The Health Ministry…