Hezbollah operation was meant to restore the balance of deterrence and not engage in a full out war, analysts say.
Beirut, Lebanon – Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has warned that his group was ready to respond to any attack by Israel at any time and in any place, insisting that rules of engagement no longer applied between the Lebanese movement and Israel.
In a televised speech on Friday during a rally held to honour the six Hezbollah fighters and one Iranian general killed in an Israeli airstrike in Syria’s Quneitra on January 18, he said, “We in Hezbollah are no longer concerned with anything called the rules of engagement. It is our right, our legal right and our moral right, to confront the aggression at any time, any place and in any form whatsoever.”
Hezbollah responded to the strike on Wednesday with a military operation against an Israeli convoy in the Israeli occupied Shebaa Farms on Wednesday, killing two soldiers and wounding several others.
. This is not weak talk. But we are not afraid of war.”]
Nasrallah also addressed the Syrian people, the Syrian opposition, the Palestinian people, and the Arab world more broadly, alleging that Israel is directly aiding the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in the Golan Heights.
“[In the Golan Heights] we have al-Nusra Front; thousands of fighters who have tanks, all kinds of weapons, and military positions,” he said. “It is the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda…and the Israelis provide them with air cover, open the border for their wounded and treat them in Israeli hospitals.”
Heavy celebratory gunfire could be heard across Beirut prior to his speech, which was attended by thousands in Beirut’s southern suburbs.
Detailing the Hezbollah operation in the Shebaa Farms on Wednesday, which killed two Israeli soldiers, he pointed out how it was conducted in the same manner in which Israel conducted its strike in Quneitra, highlighting that the war between them is now tit-for-tat.
“They killed us in broad daylight, we killed them in broad daylight. They killed us around 11:30 am, we killed them at 11:30 am. They targeted two cars, we targeted two cars. They had killed and wounded, we too had martyrs.”
At the end of his speech, in what seemed like a message to the Lebanese people, he concluded that the party did not want to enter into a war with Israel, but it is ready for it if it came to them.
“We don’t want a war. This is not weak talk. But we are not afraid of war.”