The Biden administration has privately been urging Israel not to launch a military campaign against Hezbollah, as Washington works to keep the current war from spreading beyond Gaza, two officials familiar with the matter tell The Times of Israel.
The US recognizes that Israel must respond to the increased targeting of its northern border by Hezbollah since the October 7 Hamas onslaught, the officials clarify.
But the repeated attacks by the Lebanese terror group and the fact that Israel failed to anticipate the assault by Hamas from Gaza have led to the intensification of discussions about whether Israel must be the one to initiate a battle against Hezbollah in order to maintain the upper hand.
Such talk has been a cause of concern for the US, which has been privately and publicly warning Hezbollah and Iran not to open a war on Israel’s northern front, the officials say.
The US has cautioned Israel to be careful in its military responses to Hezbollah fire, explaining that an IDF mistake in Lebanon could spark a much larger war, the officials add.
Biden officials have indicated to Israel in recent days that if Hezbollah initiates a war against Israel, the US military will join the IDF in fighting the terror group, the officials say.
The Pentagon has already dispatched a pair of aircraft carrier strike groups to the eastern Mediterranean near Israeli in order to deter Israeli and American adversaries in the region.
Hezbollah has fired dozens of anti-tank guided missiles, rockets, and mortars at Israeli military positions and Israeli towns since the October 7 Hamas onslaught, while also sending gunmen to infiltrate into Israel. Several drones have also been intercepted over northern Israel.
At least five Israeli soldiers, 13 Hezbollah terrorists and five Palestinians from other terror groups have been killed in these exchanges. One Israeli civilian was killed in a Hezbollah attack Sunday, and two Lebanese civilians and a journalist were also reported killed by Israeli shelling.