Attacks targeting a synagogue and a church in Dagestan… and killing policemen

General Charles Brown, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Sunday that any Israeli attack on Lebanon could increase the risks of a broader conflict that would drag Iran and allied militants into it, especially if the presence of the Hezbollah group was threatened.

Brown did not reveal his expectation of the next steps that Israel could take, but he acknowledged its right to defend itself. Brown warned that launching an attack on Lebanon “could increase the possibility of a broader conflict.”

“Hezbollah is more capable than Hamas in terms of overall capabilities, number of missiles and the like. I would just say that I see Iran as more inclined to provide greater support to Hezbollah,” Brown told reporters before stopping in Cape Verde on his way to participate in regional defense talks in Botswana.

“Again, all of this could help expand the scope of the conflict in the region and make Israel concerned not only about what is happening in the southern part of the country, but also about what is happening in the north.”

Brown’s statements came at a time when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the end of the intense phase of fighting in Gaza would allow Israel to deploy more forces along the northern border with Lebanon.

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah began attacking Israel shortly after the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7, which sparked the war in Gaza. The two sides have exchanged blows since then. Hezbollah said it would not stop until a ceasefire was reached in Gaza.

Earlier this month, Hezbollah targeted Israeli towns and military sites with the largest barrage of missiles and drones in hostilities to date, after an Israeli raid killed the group’s most senior commander since clashes erupted in October.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant headed to Washington on Sunday to discuss the next phase of the Gaza war and the escalation of hostilities on the border with Lebanon.

Brown noted that the United States’ ability to defend Israel from Hezbollah attacks may be more limited than its ability to help intercept Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel in April, which was largely thwarted.

“From our perspective, based on where our forces are, and the short distance between Lebanon and Israel, it is difficult for us to be able to support them in the same way we did in April,” Brown said.

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