Hamas delegation meets Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in show of unity on Nakba Day

Meeting held on same day both Iran-backed groups fired rockets into Israel

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, second right, meets senior Hamas official Khalil Al Hayya, second left, in Beirut, on Wednesday. AP
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest on Israel-Gaza

Senior Hamas officials met Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah at an undisclosed location in Lebanon’s capital Beirut on Wednesday, to conduct “an in-depth assessment” of developments related to Israel’s war on Gaza, the groups said.

The meeting was held on the same day both Hezbollah and Hamas operatives in Lebanon fired salvos of rockets towards Israel, following the latter’s assassination of a senior Hezbollah commander the previous day.

The meeting also fell on Nakba Day, commemorating 76 years since Palestinians were forcibly evicted during the creation of what is now Israel.

The Hamas delegation, headed by senior official Khalil Al Hayya, also included political bureau members Mohammad Nasr and Osama Hamdan.

The Palestinian and Lebanese sides vowed to keep fighting “to achieve the honorable goals sought by the Al Aqsa Flood and to achieve the coming and promised victory, regardless of the number of sacrifices,” a statement circulated by Lebanon’s Hezbollah said.

“In general, the various support fronts were reviewed, as well as the course of the recent negotiations [between Hamas and Israel], as well as the outcome of international political positions and student movements in many places around the world,” the statement added.

Negotiations between Hamas and Israel have been stalled since early May, when Hamas announced it had accepted an Israeli ceasefire proposal, which was later found to be a slightly modified version of what Israel had presented.

Israel did not accept the modified proposal and instead pressed ahead with its plans of a military invasion of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, where the UN says about 1.4 million Gazans sought shelter.

The "support fronts" – commonly referred to as the "Axis of Resistance," a coalition of Iran-allied groups across the Middle East – consist of Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Yemen’s Houthis, and a collection of allied militias operating in Iraq and Syria backed by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Hezbollah is one of the strongest groups within the Iran-backed alliance. Mr Nasrallah has held a number of meetings with allied groups since October, including with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and his deputy, Saleh Al Arouri, before he was killed by an Israeli drone attack. Mr Nasrallah has also held talks with representatives of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The Iran-backed "Axis of Resistance" has rallied around their ally Hamas since October 7, when Hamas led an unprecedented and deadly surprise attack on southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people.

Since then, groups including Hezbollah and the Houthis have opened several fronts against Israel in an attempt to pressure it into ceasing its assault on Gaza, in which more than 35,200 Palestinians have been killed.

Hezbollah has especially borne the weight of its alliance with Hamas after it opened the southern Lebanese front against Israel. For over seven months, Hezbollah and Israel have waged daily cross-border attacks, edging ever closer towards an all-out war.

On Wednesday Hezbollah said it launched dozens of rockets into Israel’s Meron base, completely disabling part of the air control unit’s headquarters. The group also said it destroyed “newly developed technical systems and spy equipment” at an Israeli site in Israel-occupied Shebaa Farms.

The group said the attacks were conducted in response to the assassination of senior field commander Hussein Makki in an Israeli drone strike near the southern Lebanese city of Tyre the previous night. The Israeli army attributed several “acts of terrorism” against Israel to Mr Makki.

Later on Wednesday, Hamas said it fired a “concentrated missile barrage” from the south of Lebanon into Israel’s Liman military barracks in the western Galilee. No injuries were reported by Israel after the attack.

Updated: May 15, 2024, 5:57 PM