Blinken says he will focus on extending Gaza moratorium on Israel visit | Guardian Nigeria News

US, France call for “avoiding escalation in Lebanon and Iran''

The US State Department announced Thursday that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna have agreed to explore steps to avoid escalating a broader Middle East war following attacks in Lebanon and Iran.

In a telephone conversation the day before, the two leaders “discussed the importance of measures to prevent the escalation of the Gaza conflict, including proactive steps to reduce tensions in the West Bank and avoid escalation in Lebanon and Iran,” the Secretary of State said. said. Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

The call was Blinken's fourth time since Hamas fighters infiltrated Israel and carried out major attacks in the Gaza Strip on October 7, triggering massive Israeli retaliation. This was held prior to a visit to the Middle East.

French President Emmanuel Macron earlier called on Israel to avoid escalation “particularly in Lebanon”, where Israel is suspected of carrying out an attack that killed a senior Hamas official on Tuesday.

The US said it had no prior knowledge of the attack in Lebanon, but described slain Hamas number two Saleh al-Arli as a “brutal terrorist”.

Two explosions killed at least 84 people in Iran, where the clerical state backs Hamas, on Wednesday as Iran mourned the death of Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed four years ago in a targeted attack by the United States.

U.S. officials said the attack had characteristics of the Islamic State, an extremist group strongly opposed by Shiite-majority Iran, and denied any involvement by the U.S. or Israel.


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