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Israel’s dangerous flirting with war with Lebanon risks spreading conflict, warns Turkish foreign minister

Israel’s dangerous flirtation over starting a war with Lebanon risks spreading the Gaza conflict to the wider region, warned Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Wednesday.

“I think Israelis are barely restraining themselves from going to war with Lebanon. But I always say that this road is a dead end. If something like that happens, of course this war will have no end,” Fidan said hours after Israel’s assassination of Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri in Lebanon, suggesting that any more such developments could make the war spread.

“On the contrary, if the (Palestine) issue is to be resolved, it is necessary to focus on peace and a two-state solution,” Fidan told reporters at the Foreign Ministry in the capital Ankara.

On the Tuesday night assassination, which drew widespread condemnation though Israel has denied responsibility, Fidan said: “How will Hezbollah react to this? In other words, will it react by entering the war completely or by retaliating?”

On Tuesday evening, an Israeli drone assassinated Hamas’ deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri in the Lebanese capital Beirut along with two commanders of its military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades.

Arouri was the most senior Hamas leader to have been killed by Israel since the outbreak of the Gaza conflict on Oct. 7.

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.

At least 22,185 Palestinians have since been killed and 57,035 others injured, according to Gaza’s health authorities, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.