Canada and Kuwait urge citizens to leave Lebanon amid escalating tensions

Canada and Kuwait urge citizens to leave Lebanon amid escalating tensions

Shafaq News/ Canada is preparing to evacuate 45,000 of its citizens from Lebanon, while Kuwait has urged its citizens to leave the country amid fears that escalating skirmishes between Israel and Hezbollah could descend into full-scale war.

A report by the Hebrew Channel 12 revealed a tense conversation between Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz and his Canadian counterpart Mélanie Joly. Joly reportedly informed Katz that Ottawa had dispatched military forces to the region in preparation for "the largest evacuation we have ever undertaken" due to concerns about the violence escalating between Israel and Hezbollah along the Lebanese border.

It remains unclear if similar evacuation plans are in place for the approximately 35,000 Canadian citizens residing in Israel.

Katz reportedly urged Joly to pressure Hezbollah's Iranian backers to restrain the militant group. "The window of opportunity is closing," Katz was quoted as saying. "Israel will not tolerate a situation where residents of the north cannot return to their homes."

Although there was no official readout of the conversation, Katz later posted on social media platform X: "Israel cannot allow the Hezbollah terror organization to continue attacking its territory and citizens, and soon we will make the necessary decisions. The free world must unconditionally stand with Israel in its war against the axis of evil led by Iran and extremist Islam."

In a related development, Kuwait's Foreign Ministry renewed its call for citizens to avoid traveling to Lebanon due to "regional security" developments.

In a statement, it urged citizens already in Lebanon to leave "immediately if they have no pressing reasons to stay" and to contact the Kuwaiti embassy in Lebanon if they are unable to leave.

Following Hamas's October 7 attack, some 100,000 settlers have evacuated the settlements on the borders with Lebanon, fearing Hezbollah's missiles that attack Israeli military posts almost daily, claiming support for Gaza.

Tensions have reached a peak in the past two weeks as explosive-laden drones launched by Hezbollah have caused widespread fires in Israel's north.

On Tuesday, the Lebanese military group released unusual footage that shows strategic assets in the Haifa Port area filmed by a drone codenamed "Hudhud" (hoopoe), raising several questions regarding Israel's air defense capabilities.

Amos Hochstein, the White House's special envoy to the Middle East, reportedly warned Beirut that if Hezbollah doesn't cease its attacks on northern Israel, it could face a limited Israeli operation supported by the United States.

Hochstein, who brokered a 2020 maritime agreement between Israel and Lebanon, was in the region to negotiate a deal to push Hezbollah north of the Litani River, about 30 kilometers from the Israeli border, as outlined in United Nations Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Israel war against Lebanon.

The escalation between Israel and Hezbollah has intensified following a warning from Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah. In a televised speech, Nasrallah warned that no place in Israel would be safe if a full-scale war breaks out, threatening Cyprus and other parts of the Mediterranean if they become involved in the conflict.

Speaking at a ceremony commemorating senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdullah, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike, Nasrallah emphasized that Hezbollah does not seek total war but is acting in support of Palestine. He warned that a large-scale Israeli offensive would result in attacks from the ground, air, and sea, altering the situation in the Mediterranean.

Nasrallah vowed that Hezbollah would fight "without rules or limitations," preparing for the worst and ensuring no place in Israel would be spared from their rockets.

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