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Hezbollah leader warns against new US mediator with Israel

BEIRUT — The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, Hassan Nasrallah, says a U.S. official visiting Beirut to mediate between Lebanon and Israel over a maritime border dispute is a “friend of Israel.”

Nasrallah urged Lebanese officials to negotiate from a point of strength with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker.

President Michel Aoun on Tuesday received Schenker, who is on his first visit to Lebanon since taking the post earlier this year.

Israel and Lebanon both claim some 860 square kilometers, about 330 square miles, of the Mediterranean Sea.

Lebanon hopes to unleash offshore oil and gas production as it grapples with an economic crisis. Washington is mediating between the two countries, which have been officially at war since Israel’s creation in 1948.

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