US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made a phone call Thursday with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to discuss the Israeli military campaign in Gaza and preparations for the stabilization phase that will follow major combat operations.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Defense, Austin stressed the United States’ determination to ensure that Hamas is no longer able to threaten Israel’s security and stressed the importance of protecting civilians in Gaza and accelerating humanitarian aid.
The US and Israeli Defense Ministers also discussed threats to regional security, including Hezbollah’s destabilizing activities in southern Lebanon, Iranian-aligned militia attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria, and Houthi attacks on international trade in the Red Sea.
The ongoing war in Gaza raises global fears of the escalation expanding into a regional conflict, especially with the exchange of bombing on the Israeli-Lebanese border between the Israeli army and Hezbollah, and the attacks launched by the Houthis in Yemen on ships they say are linked to Israel in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, and targeting bases in which they are located. American and international forces in Iraq and Syria.
Border tension between Lebanon and Israel increases with the escalation of hostilities and mutual bombardment between Hezbollah and the Israeli army, and Israel demands that Hezbollah be removed from its borders in implementation of International Resolution 1701, according to which the 2006 war between the two parties stopped, and offers international deadlines for a political-diplomatic solution, amid the threat of resorting to military options. wide if international efforts fail.
On the other hand, the pro-Iranian militias, most notably Hezbollah, the Houthis, and Iraqi brigades and factions, are increasingly involved in launching attacks on a daily basis, in the context of what they describe as “supporting Gaza and the Palestinians,” and linking the course of their attacks to the course of the ongoing war in Gaza, which raises the risks of expanding the conflict.
The war began following an unprecedented attack launched by the movement on southern Israel, which led to the killing of about 1,140 people, the majority of whom were civilians, according to an Agence France-Presse count based on the latest Israeli official figures. During the attack, about 250 hostages were taken, 129 of whom are still being held in Gaza, according to Israel.
Israel launched intensive bombardment of the besieged Strip, and began ground operations as of October 27, which led to the killing of 21,110 people, including more than eight thousand children and six thousand women, according to the latest figures issued by the Hamas government.