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Shooting at U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon; Israel ‘prepared for intense action’ on Hezbollah, Netanyahu says

WorldShooting at U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon; Israel 'prepared for intense action' on Hezbollah, Netanyahu says

A gunman was captured after opening fire at the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon‘s capital, Beirut, on Wednesday — an attack that took place as U.S. ally Israel signaled it could soon launch an offensive in the country against Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned early Wednesday that Israel was “prepared for very intense action in the north,” as he visited a border city hit by wildfires sparked by Hezbollah rockets.  

The escalation has piled pressure on Netanyahu from right-wing members of his government, who have also threatened to quit if he agrees to a U.S.-backed proposal for a cease-fire in Gaza, where more than 36,000 people have been killed since the war began.

President Joe Biden criticized Netanyahu in a new interview, but also dispatched top aides to the region for talks as Washington pushes for a deal that would end eight months of war and secure the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Some 1,200 people were killed and around 250 others taken hostage in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks, according to Israeli officials, which marked a major escalation in the decadeslong conflict. Some 120 people taken hostage are believed to remain held in Gaza, with about a third of those confirmed dead.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in an interview with “TODAY” on Wednesday that Israel had reconfirmed as recently as Wednesday that the deal was “still on the table.”

“The whole world should call on Hamas to accept it,” he said.

U.S. Embassy attack

The Lebanese army said its forces responded to an attack at the U.S. embassy in Beirut Wednesday morning, firing back at a suspect who was taken to a local hospital with injuries. The U.S. embassy said “small arms fire” was reported just after 8:30 a.m. local time (1:30 a.m. ET.) It said its team was safe thanks to the “quick reaction” of Lebanese forces and the embassy’s security team.

A local Lebanese guard was wounded in the incident and was receiving care, Sullivan said in his “TODAY” interview. A U.S. official told NBC News the the preliminary assessment was that the injury was minor.

The suspect’s identity and any possible motive were not immediately clear, with the Lebanese military describing them only as a Syrian national.

Lebanese authorities said that the situation was stable and that investigations were underway. “I condemn the attack that took place on the US Embassy in Beirut this morning,” said the country’s foreign minister, Abdullah Bou Habib.

A bombing on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1983 killed 241 American military members, an attack that U.S. officials blame on Hezbollah. The facility was then moved to a suburb north of the capital.

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