US officials worry Israel will drag America into war against Hezbollah – CBS

The Biden administration has become increasingly concerned that the increasing conflict and rocket exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah could expand through the region, anonymous US officials told CBS News on Friday.

An official said that the administration had been working toward lowering the risk that US troops face in Syria, Iraq, and Jordan. 

Additionally, diplomatic advisor Amos Hochstein is heading to Israel on Monday with the reported purpose of trying to de-escalate tensions before they spread throughout the region.

IAF strikes deeper into Lebanon

Some of the US officials told CBS that they interpreted the deepening IDF strikes in Lebanese territory as a preparatory measure for a sweeping assault. This, the officials worry, could start a war with Lebanon that Israel would require US support to win.  

Other officials told CBS they were concerned that, in response to the deepening strikes, Hezbollah would escalate attacks, resulting in an unintended war.

Smoke is seen following rockets that were fired towards Israel from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, June 1, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/Avi Ohayon)

The rocket exchanges on the northern border are also creating new barriers in pushing for a hostage-ceasefire deal, the CBS report added.

A senior Biden administration official said, “The most important thing about the hostage release and ceasefire deal that’s on the table now is that if it’s achieved, it can have an impact in the north [of Israel], so that is an opportunity for us to be able to bring this conflict to a full close.”

“There has to be an agreement that allows Israelis to return to their homes in the North with security guarantees that it is not Oct. 6 of Hezbollah … sitting right on the blue line,” the official added.

Inflaming tensions 

After senior Hezbollah official Sami Taleb Abdullah was eliminated in a strike, Hezbollah increased its rocket attacks against Israel. Approximately 250 rockets were launched on Wednesday towards northern Israel, disrupting civilians trying to partake in the holiday of Shavuot. 

Abdullah is the most senior member of Hezbollah to be eliminated since October 7.

“The powerful elimination worries Hezbollah members. They now understand that the IDF knows much more about them than we do. Additionally, the operation indicates that Hezbollah’s field security is not airtight and that the organization’s intelligence system has been penetrated to such an extent that we were able to eliminate such an important sector commander. The IDF managed to infiltrate their networks and systems and identify the right people for elimination,” said Professor Amatzia Baram, suggesting that this also impacts the leader of the terrorist organization.