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As Israel battles Hamas, all eyes are on Hezbollah, the wild card on its northern border
Will Lebanon’s heavily armed Hezbollah militia join the Israel-Hamas war
BEIRUT (AP) — Will Lebanon's heavily armed Hezbollah militia join the Israel-Hamas war? The answer could well determine the direction of a battle that is bound to reshape the Middle East.
Hezbollah, which like Hamas is supported by Iran, has so far been on the fence about joining the fighting between Israel and the Gaza Strip's Islamic militant rulers. For the past six days, Israel has besieged Gaza and hammered the enclave of 2.3 million Palestinians with hundreds of airstrikes in response to a deadly Hamas attack on southern Israel.
Israel, which has vowed to crush Hamas, is now preparing for a possible ground offensive. While the country's political and military leaders weigh the next move, they are nervously watching Hezbollah on Israel's northern border and have sent troop reinforcements to the area. Hezbollah, with an arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets and missiles capable of hitting virtually anywhere in Israel, is viewed as a far more formidable foe than Hamas.
Israel is anxious that opening a new front in the country's north could change the tide of the war, with Hezbollah's military caliber far superior to that of Hamas. But the fighting could be equally devastating for Hezbollah and Lebanon.