The head of Lebanese armed group Hezbollah has said that all of Lebanon will be exposed if the group does not react to the assassination of Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut this week.
Speaking in a televised address for the second time in less than a week, Hassan Nasrallah reaffirmed that Hezbollah “cannot be silent about a violation of this level”.
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“This means that all of Lebanon will become exposed, all cities, villages, and figures will become exposed,” he said on Friday.
“The murder of al-Arouri … will certainly not go without reaction and punishment,” he added.
Al-Arouri was killed in an alleged Israeli attack on a southern suburb of Beirut on Tuesday, a stronghold of Hezbollah.
Nasrallah’s comments come as Lebanon filed a complaint to the United Nations Security Council over the assassination of al-Arouri, calling it the “most dangerous phase” of Israeli attacks on the country.
The complaint said Israel used six missiles in the attack that killed al-Arouri and added that Israel uses Lebanese airspace to bomb Syria, the Reuters news agency said, citing the document dated January 4.
This is not the first time that Nasrallah promised retaliation. He had on Wednesday warned Israel against expanding its war, saying there would be “no ceilings” and “no rules” to his group’s fighting if Israel chose to launch a war on Lebanon.
“Whoever thinks of war with us – in one word, he will regret it,” Nasrallah said.
‘670 military operations’
Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Beirut, said Nasrallah reiterated a promise to retaliate.
Nasrallah said al-Arouri’s killing “will not go unanswered or unpunished”, and that Hezbollah fighters will use the “right place and the right time, and the field will respond”, Khan said.
Nasrallah also said “We have full knowledge of where Israeli military positions are,” and the Israelis “aren’t revealing the true number of their casualties, and the destruction of their equipment”, our correspondent added.
In his remarks, the Hezbollah leader said Lebanon’s southern border with Israel was a “key part” of the war, and that the group’s current operations along the border opened a “historic opportunity” for Lebanon to liberate its land occupied by Israel.
He added that the Islamic resistance in Iraq also has a “historic opportunity” to get rid of the United States presence in that country.
Nasrallah said Hezbollah fighters had conducted approximately 670 military operations on the Lebanon-Israel border, adding that the group destroyed a “large number of Israeli vehicles and tanks”.
He also said if the Israeli military managed to achieve its military goals in Gaza, it would then turn to Lebanon.
Since October 8 – a day after Israel launched its war on the Gaza Strip – continuing clashes between the Israeli army and Hezbollah along the Israel-Lebanon border have resulted in the deaths of dozens of Lebanese civilians and more than 140 Hezbollah members.
Israel and armed groups in southern Lebanon, particularly Hezbollah, have engaged in frequent back-and-forth exchanges across the United Nations-patrolled border.