BERLIN, Germany — Jordanian King Abdullah II warned Tuesday of a dire situation in the Middle East if the conflict between Israel and the Hamas terror group is allowed to spread to other countries — a presumed reference to Lebanon, where tensions have skyrocketed in recent days.
“The whole region is on the brink of falling into the abyss,” Abdullah said after meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.
“All our efforts are needed to make sure we don’t get there,” he said.
Scholz, who will travel to Israel later on Tuesday, also warned against an escalation.
“We have a common goal to prevent a conflagration in the region,” said Scholz.
“I once again expressly warn Hezbollah and Iran not to intervene in this conflict,” he said of the Lebanese terror group whose fighters have repeatedly clashed with Israeli forces on the border in recent days.
He will be among the first heads of government to visit Israel since Hamas launched the bloodiest terror onslaught in Israel’s 75-year history last week.
In a shock assault, Gaza-based Hamas terrorists broke through the border with Israel on October 7, shooting, stabbing and burning to death some 1,300 people, the vast majority of them civilians, and kidnapping 200-250 to the Strip.
Israel has responded with devastating airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza that have killed at least 2,750 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Israel has said its forces also killed some 1,500 terrorists in Israeli territory.
Israel is deploying tens of thousands of troops to the border in preparation for a full-scale ground offensive, aiming to topple the Gaza-ruling terror group.
Israel has told some 1.1 million Gazans — nearly half the population of 2.4 million — to leave the north of the densely populated enclave, in order to minimize civilian casualties ahead of the ground operation.
Thousands have gathered at Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the only one not controlled by Israel, in an effort to flee.
But the Jordanian king on Tuesday said his country and Cairo would refuse to accept Palestinians who flee Gaza.
“On the issue of refugees coming to Jordan — and I think I can quite strongly speak on behalf not only of Jordan as a nation but of our friends in Egypt — that is a red line,” he said.
The escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza “has to be dealt with inside Gaza and the West Bank,” he said.