Lebanon will be next if Israel succeeds in Gaza, Hezbollah's Nasrallah says

Militant group's leader remains guarded in remarks over response to killing of Hamas official Saleh Al Arouri

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gives a televised address on Friday. Reuters
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Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Friday remained coy over how his group would respond to the assassination of Hamas deputy Saleh Al Arouri in Beirut earlier this week, although he insisted retaliation was inevitable.

“The response is undoubtedly coming,” he said on Friday. “We will not remain silent about a violation of this level because this means that all of Lebanon will be exposed.”

While Hezbollah has insisted it will respond to the attack, it has not given exact details about what a retaliation would look like.

But the Hezbollah chief warned that if Israel's succeeds in achieving its goals in Gaza, south Lebanon would be next.

Mr Nasrallah's speech, which marked the recent death of a close aide, was his second since the killing of Mr Al Arouri on Tuesday.

Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon have engaged in daily cross-border exchanges with Israel since October 8. Those clashes had been confined to Lebanon's southern border, but the strike that killed Mr Al Arouri was the first to hit Beirut since 2006.

Hezbollah leader: 'War with us would be very costly'

Hezbollah leader: 'War with us would be very costly'

Mr Nasrallah said Hezbollah and its allies had carried out 670 operations on Lebanon-Israel border in the three-month period, averaging six to seven a day.

He insisted that Israel was hiding the true extent of its losses on the border as “part of its strategy”.

Israel has said nine of its soldiers and four civilians have been killed since October 8, when Hezbollah first began its cross-border conflict against Israel in an attempt to deter Israel from its assault on Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip.

Mr Nasrallah said Hezbollah's actions were part of efforts “to halt [Israel's] aggression against Gaza” and “to alleviate the military pressure on Gaza”.

He warned the Israelis against escalating the conflict on the Lebanon-Israel border, which Hezbollah has attempted to maintain while avoiding a full-scale war.

“The settlers of northern Israel would be the first to pay the price” of a war on Lebanon, he threatened.

Mr Nasrallah also said Lebanon was “facing a historic opportunity today to liberate every inch of our Lebanese land and prevent the enemy from violating our borders and airspace”.

The Hezbollah chief also commended the actions of the group's allies in the region – part of the so-called Axis of Resistance, led by Tehran.

Yemen's Houthis have attacked commercial ships in the Red Sea, disrupting global supply routes with the intended strategy of exerting international pressure on Israel to deter it from its invasion of Gaza. Attacks towards Israel have also been launched from Syria and Iraq.

Anger is brewing in Iraq after a missile, launched by the US, killed a senior leader of an Iran-aligned group. Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani said his government would form a committee tasked with ending the presence of US troops in Iraq, who are part of an international coalition tasked with clamping down on any re-emergence of ISIS.

“Today there is an opportunity to get rid of the presence of American forces in Iraq,” said Mr Nasrallah.

Updated: January 05, 2024, 6:01 PM