Trans Asia News
Beirut- The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah warned the United States on Friday that if Israel did not stop its assault on Gaza then fighting on the Lebanese front could turn into a wider war.
A strong military force backed by Iran, Hezbollah has been engaging Israeli forces along the Lebanon-Israel border in the deadliest escalation since it fought a war with Israel in 2006.
The Israeli military said seven of their soldiers and one civilian had been killed on the northern border as of Friday. More than 50 Hezbollah fighters and 10 militants with allied groups, as well as 10 civilians, including a Reuters journalist, have been killed on the Lebanese side of the border.
“We are ready for all possibilities,” Hezbollah leader said in a televised speech, speaking for the first time since the Israel-Hamas war erupted on October 7.
“What’s happening now in Gaza is not a usual war; it is not like wars before. This is a decisive conflict,” the Hezbollah leader added.
Celebratory gunshots rang out over Beirut as tens of thousands packed into a square in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital to watch the much anticipated televised speech by Nasrallah.
“All possibilities on our Lebanese front are open and all options are on the table and we can go to them at any time,” he threatened.
Calling Israel a mere American tool, Nasrallah blamed the United States for the war in Gaza and the high civilian death toll and said a de-escalation in the besieged enclave was vital to prevent regional war.
“You, the Americans, can stop the aggression against Gaza because it is your aggression. Whoever wants to prevent a regional war, and I am talking to the Americans, must quickly halt the aggression on Gaza,” Nasrallah said.
He added Hezbollah did not fear the U.S. naval firepower Washington has assembled in the region since the crisis erupted.
“Hezbollah is not intimidated” by the deployment of nearly a dozen US warships to the Eastern Mediterranean. Your fleets do not scare us, nor have they ever, and we are all set for them,” Nasrallah stressed.
Nasrallah condemned the U.S. for backing Israeli aggression on Gaza that has killed more than 9,000 people, mostly women and children.
The Hezbollah leader said President Joe Biden had made a “fake argument that Hamas cut off children’s heads (without) evidence, but stayed silent for the thousands of children in Gaza who were decapitated and their limbs were torn apart” by Israeli bombing.
Nasrallah said that further escalation along the Lebanese border between Israel and his group – a Hamas ally – was contingent on what happened in the Gaza Strip, under assault by Israeli forces since a deadly Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
Nasrallah’s remarks coincided with a visit to Israel by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said the U.S. had been clear that it is determined there should not be a second or third front in the conflict.
Blinken was speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv following meetings with Israeli leaders, adding that Washington is committed to deterring aggression from any party.
Nasrallah praised Hamas’ unprecedented incursion into Israel in which the fighters outsmarted Israeli forces and killed over 1400 people, a significant number of them soldiers.
“This great, large-scale operation was purely the result of Palestinian planning and implementation,” Nasrallah said, suggesting Hezbollah had no part in the attack. “The great secrecy made this operation greatly successful.”
He also said that Oct. 7 had come as “proof that Israel is weaker than a spider’s web” and that one month into the war, it allegedly “has not been able to make any achievement.”
Israel considers the Iran-backed Lebanese group its most serious immediate threat, estimating that Hezbollah has around 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel, as well as drones and surface-to-air and surface-to-sea missiles.
Nasrallah also said that a victory for Hamas in Gaza against Israel would be a victory for Palestinians and not for Iran or any other group. He described supporting Hamas in the ongoing fight against Israel as its ‘duty’.
“A victory for Gaza against Israel will not be a victory for Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood, it will be first and foremost a patriotic victory for Palestinians, but also for Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. It is therefore our duty to support Hamas in Gaza,” Nasrallah said.
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