| 17 July 2024, Wednesday |

Lebanon PM says working to avoid ‘war’ with Israel

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister said Monday he was working to ensure his country does not enter the Hamas-Israel war, even as Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging cross-border fire.

“I am doing my duty to prevent Lebanon from entering the war” raging further south, Mikati told AFP in an interview.

“Lebanon is in the eye of the storm,” he added.

Mikati said he has no “clear answer” about whether war loomed ahead, adding that “it depends on regional developments”.

“For now Hezbollah has managed the situation rationally and wisely, and the rules of the game have remained constrained to certain limits,” Mikati said.

“But at the same time I feel like I cannot reassure Lebanese” because the situation is still developing, he added.

Skirmishes on the Lebanon-Israel border have killed at least 62 people in Lebanon, according to an AFP tally, mostly Hezbollah combatants but also four civilians including Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah.

Israeli officials have reported four deaths, including one civilian.

Mikati said any escalation could extend beyond Lebanon.

“I cannot rule out an escalation because there is a race to reach a ceasefire before escalation spreads in the entire region,” Mikati said.

“I fear that… chaos could engulf the entire Middle East,” he also said.

“Lebanese have had enough of wars,” Mikati said.

“Lebanese… do not want to enter any war and want stability.”

  • NNA