Israel Prefers To Avoid Tough War With Hezbollah: Defence Minister

(MENAFN- IANS) Jerusalem, May 18 (IANS) Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has said that his country prefers to avoid a difficult war with the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah.

Speaking with fighter soldiers near Israel's northern border with Lebanon on Friday, Gallant noted that Israel will eventually return the northern region residents to their homes safely, and wants to exhaust every chance to do so by agreement, "because we know that war has prices for everyone", Xinhua news agency reported.

"A long round of hard war would be a catastrophe for Lebanon and Hezbollah, but there would also be a price for us and we prefer to avoid that," he added.

Gallant noted, however, that "anything can happen, and we must prepare for it. If we conclude that we need to act, we will do so simply because we have to take care of our citizens."

Earlier on Friday, the Israeli military said in statements that it attacked Hezbollah's air defence infrastructure, launchers, and structures in southern Lebanon.

According to reports in Lebanon, a local leader of the group was killed in the Israeli strikes.

At the same time, Hezbollah's attacks continued on Friday, with dozens of rockets and drones launched into northern Israel.

The exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and the Israeli military have ramped up in recent days. Hezbollah has deployed new types of rockets against Israel and recently launched a drone attack the furthest into Israeli territory since October.



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