Hezbollah chief Nasrallah says Israel should be ‘scared’ of all-out war

Hassan Nasrallah says invading northern Israel is a ‘standing’ possibility if a serious conflict is imposed on Lebanon.

Fighters Hezbollah flags
Members of Hezbollah attend the funeral of Taleb Abdallah, a senior field commander of the group who was killed in an Israeli attack, June 12, 2024 [Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has issued a stern warning to Israel, threatening a war with “no restraint and no rules and no ceilings” in case of a major Israeli offensive against Lebanon.

Nasrallah’s remarks on Wednesday come amid soaring tensions at the Lebanon-Israel border after Israeli officials reiterated that the country is ready for an all-out war against Hezbollah.

“All what the enemy says and the threats and warnings the mediators bring – and what is being said in the Israeli media – about a war in Lebanon does not scare us,” Nasrallah said in a speech via video feed.

He said Israel is the party that should be “scared”.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Tuesday raised the prospect of a serious conflict with the Lebanese group after Hezbollah released surveillance drone footage showing important infrastructure and military sites in northern Israel.

“We are very close to the moment of decision to change the rules against Hezbollah and Lebanon. In an all-out war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be severely hit,” Katz wrote in a social media post.

“The State of Israel will pay a price on the front and home fronts, but with a strong and united nation, and the full power of the [Israeli military], we will restore security to the residents of the north.”

On Wednesday, Nasrallah underscored Hezbollah’s military capabilities, saying the group has acquired new weapons and has an abundance of drones that it manufactures locally.

“The enemy knows well that we have prepared ourselves for the most difficult days,” he said. “The enemy knows well what awaits it, and that’s why it has been deterred so far. And it knows that there will be no place in the [country] that would be spared our rockets and drones. And it won’t be indiscriminate bombing: every rocket – a target.”

Nasrallah also suggested that Hezbollah may send ground forces into Israeli territory.

“There is a lot of fear from the enemy that the resistance would invade northern Israel, and this is a standing possibility that remains present in the context of any war imposed on Lebanon,” he said.

The Iran-aligned Lebanese organisation started attacking military bases in northern Israel the day after the outbreak of the war on Gaza on October 7 in what it says is a “support front” to back Palestinian groups.

Nasrallah stressed that the Lebanese front is making a difference in the broader confrontation against Israel and drawing Israeli military resources away from Gaza.

Threat to Cyprus

Nasrallah also issued a warning to Cyprus, a European Union member that sits in the eastern Mediterranean west of the Lebanese and Israeli coasts. He said the group has information that Israel is conducting military exercises in Cyprus in similar terrains to south Lebanon.

Nasrallah added that Israel plans to use airports and bases in Cyprus for military purposes if its military infrastructure is attacked during a serious war.

“Opening Cypriot airports and bases for the Israeli enemy to target Lebanon means the Cypriot government has become part of the war, and the resistance will deal with it as part of the war,” he said without elaborating.

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said his island nation “is in no way involved” in any military operations in the region.

“It [Cyprus] is not part of the problem, it is part of the solution. That role is evident, for example, through the humanitarian [aid] corridor which has been acknowledged not only by the Arab world, but from the international community,” he said, referring to shipments of aid from Cyprus to Gaza via a maritime corridor.

Cyprus’s government spokesman Constantinos Letympiotis said on Thursday that statements and threats made by the Hezbollah chief do not correspond to reality.

“Our relations are still excellent with Lebanon,” he added.

Nasrallah also warned that the group would open a naval front against Israel in the Mediterranean.

He added that Hezbollah will continue its attacks against Israeli targets, saying the solution to the crisis is “clear”: ending the Israeli war on Gaza.

More than 37,000 people have been killed in the Israeli assault on Gaza since October, according to Palestinian health officials.

Israel launched the war after Hamas, the Palestinian group that governs Gaza, led an attack on southern Israel, killing at least 1,139 people, according to an Al Jazeera tally based on Israeli statistics, and seizing about 250 others as captives.

Nasrallah defended Hamas for making its demands on a multiphased United States-led proposal that Washington says would lead to an “enduring ceasefire”.

He said the US plan has an “obvious” gap that would allow Israel to resume the war after the first stage of the proposal, which would see the release of some Israeli captives held by Hamas.

Source: Al Jazeera