US intelligence warns of a significant escalation in the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, suggesting a broader war could break out in the coming weeks unless Israel and Hamas in Gaza reach a ceasefire agreement. American officials are trying to convince both sides to de-escalate, but tense negotiations leave the outcome uncertain. The IDF and Hezbollah have prepared battle plans and are acquiring additional weapons.

Both sides publicly state they do not want war, but Biden administration officials believe intense fighting is likely despite efforts to prevent it. The risk is higher than in recent weeks. A war could compel the US to assist in defending Jerusalem and push the Biden administration deeper into the region, risking another humanitarian disaster.

US intelligence offers a slightly more conservative assessment than some European counterparts, who believe a war could happen within days. Many European countries and Canada have advised their citizens to leave Lebanon. The State Department issued a travel advisory urging US citizens to reconsider travel to Lebanon.

Israel is quickly rebuilding its reserves and force capabilities. National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said the administration is working towards a “diplomatic resolution” to allow Israeli and Lebanese civilians to return home. Despite efforts, escalating tensions and lack of significant movement in ceasefire negotiations lean towards war.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that Israel “does not want war” and aims to bring citizens home safely, preferring understandings but preparing for any scenario.

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