US Sees Appeasing Impact of Saudi-Iran Agreement on Lebanon, Region

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf (Asharq Al-Awsat)
US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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US Sees Appeasing Impact of Saudi-Iran Agreement on Lebanon, Region

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf (Asharq Al-Awsat)
US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf (Asharq Al-Awsat)

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf said that the Saudi-Iran agreement showed to have an “appeasing effect” on the situation in Lebanon and the region in general.

In telephone remarks made to Asharq al-Awsat on Thursday, Leaf said that Lebanon’s officials lack a sense of “seriousness” to address the deteriorating situation in their country and to steer it out of the economic and political crises.

She stressed that extending a helping hand to the Lebanese people during times of crises has always been a priority for the United States.

On the election of a new head of state, Leaf emphasized the need to elect a new president and to form a government capable of implementing the required reforms.

“We urge Lebanese leaders to garner a sense of urgency and seriousness which they lack, and to take the necessary decisive decisions to steer the nation out of its unprecedented crisis,” said Leaf.

The US officials had earlier pointed to new sanctions on Lebanese parties hampering the election of a new president.

Leaf, who took part in the five-way meeting in Paris on Lebanon, did not identify any candidates for the position of president, but she voiced alarm about the “worrying situation” in the crisis-hit nation, amid evident signs of a “big collapse” looming on the horizon.



Israel Pounds Central Gaza Camps, Deepens Invasion of Rafah

A view of a damaged building, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at the Rafah Crossing, Gaza, in this screengrab obtained from a social media video released on June 19, 2024. Doron Kadosh, Glz/via REUTERS
A view of a damaged building, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at the Rafah Crossing, Gaza, in this screengrab obtained from a social media video released on June 19, 2024. Doron Kadosh, Glz/via REUTERS
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Israel Pounds Central Gaza Camps, Deepens Invasion of Rafah

A view of a damaged building, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at the Rafah Crossing, Gaza, in this screengrab obtained from a social media video released on June 19, 2024. Doron Kadosh, Glz/via REUTERS
A view of a damaged building, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at the Rafah Crossing, Gaza, in this screengrab obtained from a social media video released on June 19, 2024. Doron Kadosh, Glz/via REUTERS

Israeli forces pounded areas in the central Gaza Strip overnight, killing three people and wounding dozens of others, according to medics, while tanks deepened their invasion into Rafah in the south, residents said.
Israeli planes struck a house in Al-Nuseirat camp, killing two people and wounding 12 others, while tanks shelled areas in Al-Maghazi and Al-Bureij camps, wounding many other people, health officials said, according to Reuters. Nuseirat, Maghazi, and Bureij are three of Gaza's eight historic refugee camps.
In Deir al-Balah, a city packed with displaced people in the central Gaza Strip, an Israeli airstrike killed one Palestinian and wounded several others on Thursday, medics said.
The Israeli military said on Wednesday forces were continuing their operations across the enclave targeting militants and military infrastructure in what it described as "precise, intelligence-based" activities.
More than eight months into the war in Gaza, Israel's advance is now focused on the two last areas its forces had yet to storm: Rafah on Gaza's southern edge and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the center. The operations have forced more than a million people to flee since May, the vast majority already displaced from other parts of the enclave.
In Rafah, near the border with Egypt, Israeli tanks stationed deep in the western and central areas of the city stepped up bombardment, forcing more families living in the far coastal areas to flee northward. Some residents said the pace of the raid has been accelerated in the past two days.
"The tanks took control of most of the areas in Rafah. People living by the beach have also started to leave toward Khan Younis and central areas in fear because of the continued bombardment," said Abu Wasim, a resident from Rafah's Al-Shaboura neighborhood, who quit his home over a week ago before tanks rolled in reaching the heart of the city.
Rafah housed over half of Gaza's 2.3 million people until May 7 when Israeli forces began the ground offensive into the city. Fewer than 100,000 are now believed to be left behind.
There has been no sign of let-up in the fighting as efforts by international mediators, backed by the United States, have failed to persuade Israel and Hamas to agree to a ceasefire.
The armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad said fighters battled Israeli forces with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs, and have in some areas detonated pre-planted explosive devices against army units.
On Thursday, Israeli authorities freed 33 Palestinians who had been detained during the past months by Israeli forces in different areas of the enclave. The freed detainees were admitted into Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip after they complained of torture and mistreatment by Israeli jailers.