Sunday, June 23, 2024

Middle East confrontation could expand: Hezbollah’s second in command

The Lebanese movement Hezbollah will step up attacks on bordering Israeli areas and US military sites in the Middle East up to a "complete confrontation" if Israel continues its offensive in the Gaza Strip, Naim Qassem, the group’s deputy secretary general, has stated in an interview with NBC News.

“Hezbollah participates [in the conflict] for the sake of lowering the pressure on Gaza,” he said.

He added the increasingly frequent bombardments of Israel by the group aim to send a clear signal to Israel that an expansion of the ground operation in Gaza will have serious consequences.

“If [Israel and the US] continue in their aggression in this way and escalate this aggression and leave a negative impact that is larger than what is currently happening now, it will increase the situation and will lead to a complete confrontation,” Qassem warned.

Hezbollah released three separate statements on Tuesday announcing the death of members killed in clashes with Israel, bringing the total killed since the outbreak of war to 63.

Amid the conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israeli troops and Hamas, tension has flared along the border between the Israeli-occupied territories and Lebanon, with exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah and the Israeli regime have been exchanging sporadic fire since October 8, a day after the Zionist regime started bringing the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip under a relentless and indiscriminate war.

The Lebanese resistance movement has announced the group’s “guns and rockets” were with Palestinian fighters, and stressed that it will intensify its attacks against Israel if necessary.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has recently told senior Israeli officials that Hezbollah is “ten times stronger than Hamas”, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster has reported.

President Joe Biden and his aides have advised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to launch pre-emptive strikes against Hezbollah in Lebanon, The New York Times daily newspaper has reported.

Hezbollah has already fought off two Israeli wars against Lebanon in 2000 and 2006, forcing a humiliating retreat upon the Tel Aviv regime’s military in both cases.

The resistance movement has vowed to resolutely defend Lebanon in case of any Israeli-imposed war.

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