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Lebanese Christian leader says Hezbollah’s fighting with Israel has harmed Lebanon



The leader of a main Christian political party in Lebanon blasted the Shiite militant group Hezbollah for opening a front with Israel to back up its ally Hamas, saying it has harmed Lebanon without making a dent in Israel’s crushing offensive in the Gaza Strip.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday night, Samir Geagea of the Lebanese Forces Party said Hezbollah should withdraw from areas along the border with Israel and the Lebanese army should deploy in all points where militants of the Iran-backed group have taken positions.

His comments came as Western diplomats try to broker a de-escalation in the border conflict amid fears of a wider war.

Hezbollah began launching rockets toward Israeli military posts on Oct. 8, the day after Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel in a surprise attack that sparked the crushing war in Gaza.

The near-daily violence has mostly been confined to the area along the border, and international mediators have been scrambling to prevent an all-out war. The fighting has killed 12 soldiers and 10 civilians in Israel. More than 350 people have been killed in Lebanon including 273 Hezbollah fighters and more than 50 civilians.