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TEL AVIV, Jan. 9, 2024

From our Overseas Bureau

Accordimg to Israeli military, it has begun a new and less intense phase of its invasion of Gaza, after weeks of pressure to scale back its offensive. But its chief of staff said that the country was ready for another war against Hezbollah, which said a commander was killed in a strike in Lebanon.

Top spokesperson of Israeli military said the new phase would involve fewer air-strikes and ground troops in Gaza after a drawdown began this month. He said Israel would now focus on Hamas’ southern and central strongholds.

More targeted operations rather than wide maneuvers are expectednow. Whether that alleviates civilian suffering remains to be seen: The strikes are clearly still continuing, killing scores every day, and more than 80 percent of Gazans are displaced, many of them with no home to return to.

Killing of Hezbollah commander, Wissam Hassan al-Tawil, came a day after Israel said that it killed at least seven Hezbollah members in Radwan Unit, which Israel says aims to infiltrate its northern border. A Lebanese official said al-Tawil was in that unit.

In Lebanon Hezbollah attacks damaged an Israeli military base on Saturday, one of the group’s biggest assaults in months. The Biden Administration has been calling for an agreement that would move Hezbollah forces away from the border.

On diplomacy front, Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, arrived in Israel yesterday for talks aimed at preventing the conflict from escalating into a broader regional war.

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