Israel's defense chief rejects French efforts to end fighting between Israel and Hezbollah

As part of any diplomatic agreement with Hezbollah, Israel has asked the group to withdraw its forces north of the Litani River in Lebanon, in accordance with a United Nations Security Council resolution that ended the 2006 war between the two set off. The resolution stipulated that only UN forces and the Lebanese army could enter the area, but both sides accused the other of violating it.

According to analysts, Hezbollah is unlikely to withdraw its forces from the border. French mediators have instead proposed a smaller buffer zone that would extend about six miles beyond Lebanon's border with Israel, and an increase in the number of Lebanese army troops stationed in the border area.

Without an agreement to stop the attacks, both sides opted for limited escalation, with Hezbollah firing hundreds of rockets and Israel striking deeper inside Lebanese territory. Analysts and officials say that while neither Israel nor Hezbollah appear to want a full-scale war, a miscalculation could drag both sides into one.

Israeli forces killed a senior Hezbollah commander in an attack in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, prompting Hezbollah to respond by launching some of its heaviest rocket launches at Israel in the current conflict.

On Friday, Hezbollah fired another 70 rockets, setting off sirens across northern Israel, but they caused little damage, according to the Israeli army, which said it responded with artillery fire.

The rockets were a response to an overnight Israeli attack that targeted a three-story building in southern Lebanon, killing two people, according to a Lebanese security official. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter, said there was no indication that Hezbollah commanders had been killed in the attack. The Israeli army declined to comment on the attack.

Hezbollah attacks injured four people in Israel on Thursday, including two soldiers. Falling Israeli rockets, interceptors and shrapnel have also triggered fires that have burned more than 11,000 acres in Israel over the past two weeks, according to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

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