Israel warns Hezbollah to stay out of Gaza war

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's national security adviser said on Saturday hostilities with Lebanese Hezbollah in parallel with the Gaza war appeared to be restrained and warned the group not to take action that could lead to Lebanon's "destruction".

Israel was focusing its fighting on the Palestinian enclave, from which Hamas gunmen wreaked an unprecedented massacre in Israel's southern towns a week ago, and "trying not to be drawn into a two-front war", Tzachi Hanegbi said in a televised briefing.

Speaking after Netanyahu visited troops on the Gaza periphery in a possible precursor to a ground invasion, Hanegbi said more limited clashes across the Lebanese border showed Hezbollah was staying "under the escalation threshold".

"We hope Hezbollah won't, de facto, bring about the destruction of Lebanon, because if there is a war there the result will be no less," he said, alluding to long-standing Israeli threats to launch heavy strikes on the country in a bid to stem launches of Hezbollah's extensive missile arsenal.

Just days before the Hamas incursions which killed some 1,300 people, Hanegbi had said in a media interview that the Palestinian Islamist group was deterred from attacking Israel.

"That was a mistake," he said, adding that the wrongful assessment was shared across the Israeli intelligence community. "There is no doubt that the State of Israel did not fulfill its mission."

He dismissed as "fake news" media reports that Egypt gave Israel forewarning of a possible dangerous development, while confirming a separate report that, ahead of the attack, the chief of Israel's Shin Bet had received unusual intelligence.

The Shin Bet chief, Ronen Bar, held a meeting about that information at 4 a.m. on the morning of the Hamas assault but it was not deemed to be a concrete warning of what followed 2.5 hours later, Hanegbi said.

(Writing by Dan Williams; editing by Giles Elgood)