Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that Lebanon would be “exposed” to Israeli attacks if his terror group did not respond to the alleged killing of a senior Hamas official in Beirut.
Hamas deputy leader Saleh Arouri and three others were killed in an air strike that hit Beirut on Tuesday. Hezbollah media blamed Israel for the attack, but Israeli officials denied involvement.
In a televised address – his second in less than a week – Nasrallah said Hezbollah “cannot remain silent on a violation of this level”.
“This means that all of Lebanon will be exposed, all the cities, villages and figures will be exposed,” he said.
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Iran-backed Hezbollah has fired rockets at Israeli military positions along Israel’s northern border since October 8 in support of Hamas. The attacks began a day after the Palestinian terror group carried out deadly attacks in Israel, killing around 1,200 Israelis, which led to Israel’s war of retaliation in Gaza.
Nasrallah said Hezbollah has carried out 670 military operations on the Israel-Lebanon border in the nearly three months since the start of the war. He claimed that his fighters have destroyed a large number of Israeli military vehicles and tanks.
He also said that if Israel completes its military goal of eliminating Hamas in Gaza, the Jewish state would attack Lebanon, but warned that a full-scale conflict would hurt northern Israelis first.
“They are calling on their government to go to war with Lebanon or find a military solution for Lebanon. I tell them: this choice is wrong, for you and your government, and the first to pay for this wrong choice is you,” Nasrallah said.
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On Wednesday, the Hezbollah leader said that if Israel expands the war in Lebanon, there will be “no upper limits” and “no rules” governing Hezbollah’s response.
“Whoever thinks of war with us – in a word, will regret it,” Nasrallah said.
He also said that the end of the war in Gaza could be a “historic opportunity” for Lebanon to restore its control over territory now held by Israel, including the Shebaa farms, Ghajar town and other territories.
Israel has owned Shebaa Farms, a 15 square mile (39 sq km) piece of land, since 1967. Both Syria and Lebanon claim Shebaa Farms as Lebanese. Ghajar crosses the Israeli-Lebanese border. Lebanon considers it its territory, but its people have pledged allegiance to Syria.
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Israeli officials denied involvement in the strike that killed Aruri, but noted the “surgical” precision of the attack.
“Israel has not claimed responsibility for this attack,” said Ambassador Mark Regev, a Advisor to Netanyahu, he told MSNBC. “But whoever did it must be clear that it was not an attack on the Lebanese state.”
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“It wasn’t even an attack against the terrorist organization Hezbollah,” he added. “Whoever did this struck a surgical blow against the leadership of Hamas.”
Israel fought a 34-day war with Hezbollah in July and August 2006. Israel lost an estimated 120 soldiers during the fighting, while Hezbollah lost more than 1,000 fighters.
Fox News Digital’s Brandon Drey, Timothy HJ Nerozzi, Greg Norman and Reuters contributed to this report.