#ISRAELHAMASWAR. Gallant in the United States to decide on the Hezbollah issue

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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has decided to abolish the war cabinet and will hold limited consultations on sensitive issues; “kitchen” (as already happened before the start of the war).

Before the trip to the United States, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant assessed the situation in Lebanon with IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, Chief of the Northern Command General Ori Gordin and Chief of the Israeli Air Force, General Tomer Bar. The meeting at the headquarters of the Northern Command in Safed was also attended by the head of the Logistics Command, Major General Rafi Milo, and the Chief of the General Staff Corps, Major General David Zini and other officers.

Gallant was briefed on “the latest developments in the fight against Hezbollah,” his office said. The Defense Department says Gallant has “focused” on the threat posed by Hezbollah’s UAVs and ways Israel can improve its fight against them. He also advised generals to “be fully prepared for all scenarios.”

“We are finalizing ground and air preparation, strengthening intelligence systems and preparing for any eventuality,” Gallant said in a ministry statement. “We have an obligation to change the situation in the north and return citizens safely to their homes, and we will find a way to do it,” he says, referring to the tens of thousands of Israelis displaced by Hezbollah attacks.

Halevi told Gallant during the meeting that the Army is “very determined, ready at a very high level of readiness today” and ready to “make the right decisions.”

Israeli Defense Minister Gallant stated before leaving for Washington that: “Relations with the United States are more important than ever. Meetings with senior government officials are decisive for the future of the war.”

The defense secretary said before boarding the plane on June 23: “The United States is our most important and central ally, and our ties are especially important today, perhaps more than ever. In these meetings I will discuss the situation on the Gaza front, on the Lebanese front, which is of decisive importance at this moment. We are ready for whatever action may be necessary – in Gaza, in Lebanon and elsewhere. The transition to Phase III in the Gaza Strip is significant. “I will discuss this transition and how it can contribute to other purposes with senior officials in the US administration, and I know that we will achieve close cooperation between Israel and the United States on this issue as well.”

Late on June 24, 10 American transport planes with modern weapons landed in Israel. Also on June 24, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met Amos Hochstein, senior advisor to US President Joe Biden.

During the meeting we continued to talk about the actions to be taken to achieve a situation that allows residents of northern Israel to return to their homes, the Minister of Defense underlined his commitment to changing the security situation in the border area.

Gallant told Hochstein that the transition to the third phase of the war in Gaza would impact all sectors, and Israel was preparing for all possibilities: military and political.

The controversy over Cyprus’ role in the attacks on Hezbollah continues. Cypriot media are reporting a sharp increase in hotel cancellations.

Charles Quinton Brown Jr., Chairman of the US Army Joint Chiefs of Staff: Any Israeli military attack on Lebanon could lead to an Iranian response, which could lead to a broader war, in which case Washington would likely be unable to help Israel to defend themselves.

According to Neil Crompton, UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia: “Israel’s war with Lebanon will quickly become global.”

Palestinian sources told Reuters: “Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks in Beijing have been postponed without setting a new date.” A failure therefore.

The Houthis continue to be talked about. Online since June 21, the video of the unmanned marine drone Toofan 1, equipped with 150 kg of explosives, apparently used to sink the Greek bulk carrier Tutor in the Red Sea.

Between 22 and 24 June, the British Maritime Trade Center reported more than one Houthi attack: in the Gulf of Aden, according to a spokesperson for the military wing of the Houthis, there was an attack on a commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden and another attack on the aircraft carrier Dwight Eisenhower in the Red Sea.

US officials speaking to Reuters deny the Houthis’ claim that they would attack the CVN 69 Dwight Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the Red Sea. The US military also officially announced that the aircraft carrier Dwight Eisenhower will leave the region and its personnel will be able to meet their families. In its place, the CVN 71 Theodor Roosevelt aircraft carrier will arrive in the area after completing military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region. A Pentagon spokesman said the Dwight Eisenhower aircraft carrier left the Red Sea on June 22 and will remain briefly in the Mediterranean before returning to the United States.

New Houthi attack reported in the Arabian Sea on June 24.

According to Israeli media, Hezbollah responded to US envoy Hochstein’s visit to Israel and Lebanon with the following threat: “If we discover preparations for an Israeli attack, we will consider launching a pre-emptive strike.”

Already on June 19, Hezbollah Secretary General Nasrallah threatened the Cypriot government: “If it opens its airports and bases to Israel to be used during the war, then Cyprus will participate in the war. The number of our fighters has far exceeded 100 thousand, and we have more than the front needs, even in the worst conditions of war.”

The Government Spokesperson of Cyprus responded: “No country will receive permission to conduct military operations from Cyprus.” In reality, planes depart for attacks against the Houthis from the British base in Akrotiri in Cyprus.

The Cypriot delegation reiterated on several occasions Cyprus’ position that it “does not allow any country to use its territory and air bases to threaten Lebanon”. The delegation also stated that there are two British bases which are not subject to Cypriot jurisdiction.

As of June 22, Reuters reports that Israel could attack Lebanon in the next few days from Cypriot territory. It seems fear of an escalation starting from June 22, 250,000 Lebanese left the country in two days. Kuwait and Bulgaria have called on their citizens to leave Lebanon.

The IDF admitted that two tank crews were damaged in Gaza when anti-tank ammunition hit a tank.

And now a look at the worsening of the situation in Israel updated at 4pm on June 24th.

In northern Israel and southern Lebanon, according to data collected by the ALMA study center, in the last 72 hours Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for 18 attacks using high trajectory fire (including Grad rockets), anti-tank missiles and suicide UAVs. No claims regarding three attempted UAV incursions, which were intercepted around Dishon and Malkia, southern Golan Heights and Misgav (central Galilee).

On Thursday (June 20), in an airstrike near Deir Kifa, Israel killed Abbas Ibrahim Hamza Hamada, the commander of Hezbollah operations in the Jouaiyya area. Hamada was responsible for planning and carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel and commanding Hezbollah’s ground forces in Jouaiyya. In recent months, Hamada has worked to further embed Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon as part of efforts to improve the terrorist organization’s ground combat capabilities.

In response, Hezbollah fired Grad rockets towards Zarit in the Upper Galilee and a suicide UAV towards a military base in the Western Galilee.

On June 22, Hezbollah carried out two attacks against the community of Metula and another against the community of Manara, hitting civilian buildings with anti-tank missiles.

On June 23 in an airstrike in the village of Hiyara in the Beqaa, Israel killed Ayman Hashem Ghatame, a military commander of the Al-Fajr forces. The Al-Fajr Forces are the military wing of the Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya organization, which operates under the auspices of Hamas Lebanon.

In response, Hezbollah launched suicide UAVs towards a military base around Beit Hillel and on the morning of the 24th towards a military base around Ayelet Ha’Shahar.

Over the past 24 hours, the IDF struck several Hezbollah targets, including a Hezbollah surface-to-air missile launcher, weapons depots, compounds, infrastructure and observation posts around Rihan, Houla, Tallouseh, Meiss El Jabal, Aitaroun, Yaroun, Taybeh, Deir Seryan, Khiam, Ayta ash Shab, Yaroun, Ramyeh and Kfarkela.

Additionally, IDF soldiers fired artillery shells to remove threats in several areas of southern Lebanon, including Ayta ash Shab, Jibbain and Tallouseh.

Attacks also continue in Gaza. Israeli planes opened fire near the Al-Nabulsi roundabout and Sheikh Ajlin, to the south-west of Gaza City. Israeli helicopters and tanks fired in the southern Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, south of Gaza City. The clashes lasted for several hours. Israeli military vehicles set fire in the Sheikh Ajlin area, west of Gaza City.

Violent and continuous artillery bombardment and intense gunfire on the Saudi neighborhood west of Rafah.

Clashes also in the West Bank: suffocation injuries were recorded during clashes with the occupiers in the Al-Arroub camp, north of Hebron. Israeli security forces conduct a special operation in Jenin. Shooting hit Israeli forces in the Wadi Al-Faraa area, south of Tubas. According to eyewitnesses: “Columns of smoke rose after Israeli forces were targeted with an explosive device near the Al-Far’a camp, south of Tubas.” Fighting between Israeli forces and men linked to the Islamic resistance.

Renewed arrests, 50, by Israeli forces during the assault on the city of Silwad, north-east of Ramallah. Part of the Israeli forces stormed the village of Balaa, northeast of Tulkarem. Shooting hit the occupation forces near the Balata camp, east of Nablus.

Antonio Albanese e Graziella Giangiulio

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