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'Nobody will win' from wider Middle East conflict - Borrell

EU foreign policy chief Borrell  spoke in the Lebanese capital.
EU foreign policy chief Borrell spoke in the Lebanese capital. Copyright Hassan Ammar/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Hassan Ammar/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Saskia O'Donoghue with AP
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The EU foreign policy chief said escalating violence in the region was getting more concerning.

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The European Union's top diplomat has warned against the conflict between Israel and Hamas potentially spilling over into Lebanon.

Speaking from Beirut alongside Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Josep Borrell said the bloc was "seeing a worrying intensification of exchange of fire across the blue line in the border between Lebanon and Israel."

"I think that the war can be prevented. Has to be avoided. Diplomacy can prevail to look for a better solution. It is imperative to avoid a regional escalation in the Middle East," he said. 

"Nobody will win from a regional conflict," Borrell added. 

The EU foreign policy chief's comments came as Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets at northern Israel from Lebanon earlier on Saturday. 

The Shiite militant and political group warned the barrage was an "initial response" to the alleged Israeli killing of a top Hamas leader in Lebanon's capital earlier this week.

The rocket attack came a day after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said his group must retaliate for the killing of Saleh Arouri, the deputy political leader of Hamas, in a Hezbollah stronghold south of Beirut.

Nasrallah said that if Hezbollah did not strike back, all of Lebanon would be vulnerable to Israeli attack. 

He appeared to be making his case for a response to the Lebanese public, even at the risk of escalating the fighting between Hezbollah and Israel. 

Israeli forces have exchanged fire with Hezbollah on an almost daily basis since fighting began in Gaza. 

Hezbollah said on Saturday that it had launched 62 rockets toward an Israeli air surveillance base on Mount Meron and that it scored direct hits.

The Israeli military said about 40 rockets were fired toward Meron and that a base was targeted - but made no mention of the base being hit. 

It said it struck the Hezbollah cell that fired the rockets.

The war in Gaza was triggered by Hamas's 7 October attack on southern Israel in which militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took some 240 hostages.

Israel's blistering retaliation by air, ground and sea has killed more than 22,600 Palestinians, about two-thirds of them women and children, according to Gaza's authorities.

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