World News

Hezbollah’s Deputy Leader Says They’re Prepared for Full-Scale War with Israel

The Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, though not seeking to expand its conflict with Israel, is prepared to engage in any war imposed upon it, according to its deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem. As tensions continue to rise across the Lebanese-Israeli border, Qassem emphasized Hezbollah’s readiness to counter any Israeli aggression, warning of severe repercussions for Israel. He asserted that any Israeli expansion of the conflict would lead to widespread devastation and displacement within Israel.

For the past eight months, Hezbollah and Israel have been exchanging fire alongside Israel’s ongoing military actions in Gaza, raising concerns about the potential for a broader conflict. Qassem reiterated Hezbollah’s commitment to supporting Gaza, echoing sentiments previously expressed by the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah. This support for Gaza, Qassem indicated, is unwavering and final.

The cross-border violence has recently escalated, with Hezbollah announcing the launch of attack drones targeting Israeli military barracks in retaliation for deadly Israeli strikes on Lebanon. This exchange marks the most severe hostilities between the two adversaries since their war in 2006, resulting in significant displacement on both sides of the border.

Israel’s war cabinet convened to address the intensifying situation in the north. Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer highlighted the unsustainable nature of the current hostilities and reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to the security of its citizens, particularly those evacuated from the northern regions. Mencer emphasized that Israel’s response would depend on Hezbollah’s actions, leaving open the possibility of either diplomatic or military solutions.

Efforts for de-escalation are underway, with senior US adviser Amos Hochstein suggesting that a phased land border agreement between Israel and Lebanon could help reduce tensions. However, some Israeli officials, like Education Minister Yoav Kisch, advocate for more aggressive measures, proposing that Israel should take decisive military action to push Hezbollah beyond the Litani River.

The conflict has already resulted in significant casualties. Since October 7, Israeli strikes have reportedly killed approximately 300 Hezbollah members and 80 civilians, while attacks from Lebanon have claimed the lives of 18 Israeli soldiers and 10 civilians. Additionally, recent rocket attacks from Lebanon have sparked wildfires across northern Israel, exacerbating the crisis.

Hezbollah’s recent use of drones marks a notable escalation in its military tactics. The group has claimed responsibility for launching a squadron of drones in retaliation for what it described as an Israeli assassination in the border town of Naqoura. This development underscores the increasing complexity and severity of the conflict as both sides prepare for the possibility of further escalation.

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