Iran's Foreign Minister warns of conflict spreading if Gaza siege continues

Hossein Amirabdollahian spoke from Lebanon where Iran-backed Hezbollah militia has exchanged cross-border fire with the Israeli military this week

Gaza residents flee south after Israeli army warning

Gaza residents flee south after Israeli army warning
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Iran’s Foreign Minister has warned that the war in Gaza could spread across the region if Israel does not stop its brutal assault on the Palestinian enclave.

Speaking during a meeting with Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut, Hossein Amirabdollahian also said that the goal of his visit was “maintaining calm” in Lebanon.

Lebanese armed group and political party Hezbollah, Iran’s main ally in Lebanon, has engaged in several low-level but violent exchanges with Israel this week, and there are fears of a second front opening as a result.

Mr Amirabdollahian warned of conflict spreading if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "does not stop his destructive war against” Gaza.

Separately, he said that "if the Americans want to prevent the war in the region from developing, they must control Israel".

During his meeting with Mr Mikati, he said that the initial deadly assault by Palestinian group Hamas on Israel last Saturday "was a response to Netanyahu's policy and Israel's crimes".

Mr Amirabdollahian also met Hezbollah's secretary general Hassan Nasrallah, although little was publicly revealed of that meeting.

They discussed "potential outcomes" and the "positions that must be taken" in light of the latest developments, according to a Hezbollah statement.

He also held a meeting with his counterpart Abdalla Bou Habib, where the Lebanese minister accused Israel of committing "war crimes" against the people of Gaza.

Mr Amirabdollahian repeated his warning, saying, "if the systemic war crimes of the Zionist regime do not stop immediately, any possibility is conceivable".

Mr Bou Habib said Lebanon "has never wanted or sought war and we warn that continued escalation will ignite the region and threaten security and peace in it".

"We are in solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and call for the end of the siege and the delivery of aid to Gaza," he said.

Mr Amirabdollahian is on a regional tour, having visited Baghdad on Thursday, and is scheduled to visit Damascus.

Iran has various proxies in the region, its most powerful being Hezbollah, but it has denied involvement in the assault by Hamas on Israel last weekend.

Updated: October 13, 2023, 11:53 AM