Iran says not too late to prevent Israel-Hamas war widening

Iran says not too late to prevent Israel-Hamas war widening
Iran says not too late to prevent Israel-Hamas war widening

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian holds a press conference at the Iranian Embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut on October 14, 2023. — AFP pic

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct 14 — Iran today said it was still possible to prevent a regional spillover of Israel’s war with Islamist group Hamas but warned that time was quickly running out.

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Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian spoke from the Lebanese capital Beirut a week after hundreds of Hamas gunmen stormed from Gaza into Israel and killed at least 1,300 people, mostly civilians.

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Israel has since been pounding Hamas targets in Gaza, where authorities say more than 2,200 people have been killed in the retaliatory strikes.

“There is still a political opportunity to prevent a widespread crisis in the region,” Amir-Abdollahian told a press conference in Beirut after stops in Baghdad and Damascus.

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But “maybe, in the next few hours, it will be too late,” he said, warning that pro-Iran groups “have designed all the scenarios and are prepared, and their finger is on the trigger to shoot.”

Although Tehran has long backed Hamas — which rules Gaza — financially and militarily, Iran has denied involvement in the group’s attack on Israel.

During stops in Damascus and Baghdad in the last days, Amir-Abdollahian did not rule out the possibility of an escalation that could draw its regional allies into the Israeli-Hamas war.

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Israel has traded fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions in Lebanon on a near-daily basis since Sunday, although the tit-for-tat attacks have remained limited.

On Monday, Hezbollah said three of its members were killed in Israeli strikes on south Lebanon after Palestinian militants tried to slip across the border. — AFP

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