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Lebanese Hezbollah threatens Israel, Cyprus amid Gaza war

Photo: Rabih Daher Agence France-Presse Israel bombed the village of Khiam, southern Lebanon, on Wednesday June 19, 2024

Layal Abou Rahal – Agence France-Presse in Beirut

Published at 12:55 p.m. Updated at 5:33 p.m.

  • Middle East

Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Wednesday that “no place” in Israel would be spared from his movement's missiles in the event of an attack on Lebanon, amid fears of 'a conflagration linked to the war in the Gaza Strip.

In a live televised speech, he also threatened for the first time Cyprus, the European Union (EU) member country closest to the coasts of the Middle East, saying “it has information according to which […] Israel says that it would use Cypriot airports and bases if Hezbollah attacked its airports.”

“An opening of Cypriot airports and bases to the Israeli enemy to target Lebanon would mean that the Cypriot government is party to the war,” warned Hassan Nasrallah. Cyprus is located some 300 km from Israel and around 200 km from Lebanon, and maintains good relations with both countries.

The devastating war in Gaza, which erupted after an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, led to violence on the Israeli-Lebanese border between Hezbollah, an ally of the Palestinian Islamist movement, and the Israeli army, which has intensified in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, the Israeli military announced that “operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon” had been “validated,” and Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that “in a total war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be hit hard.”

“The [Israeli] enemy knows perfectly well that we have prepared for the worst […]. He knows that no place […] will be spared by our missiles” in the event of an attack on Lebanon, said Mr. Nasrallah, whose movement, armed and financed by Iran, exercises a preponderant influence in Lebanon.

In the event of war, Israel would have to “wait for us by land, by sea and by air,” said the leader of Hezbollah, a movement considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the United Kingdom. Its armed branch is classified as terrorist by the EU.

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“Larger capabilities”

On Wednesday, Hezbollah said it had fired “dozens of Katyusha rockets and 'shells' towards a barracks in northern Israel, near the Lebanese border, in retaliation for Israeli strikes against targets in southern Lebanon that killed four of its fighters.

“We have received new weapons […] and we are keeping others for the coming days,” continued Hassan Nasrallah, affirming that his formation had more than 100,000 men ready for combat.

During a visit to northern Israel, Israeli army chief Herzi Halevi claimed that the country held “infinitely greater capabilities” than Hezbollah. “The enemy only knows a few and he will confront them at the right time. »

An envoy from Joe Biden, Amos Hochstein, who has just visited Lebanon and Israel in recent days, deemed de-escalation at the border “urgent”.

He defended the ceasefire plan in the Gaza Strip presented on May 31 by the US president, saying it also represented “an opportunity to end to the conflict” between Hezbollah and Israel.

Bombings and fighting in Gaza

In the Gaza Strip, besieged and devastated by more than eight months of war, Israeli bombings continued, mainly in Rafah (south).

Several Israeli military vehicles are entered a neighborhood in the west of the city, supported by drone and tank fire, according to witnesses. Fighting took place there between soldiers and Palestinian fighters.

Seven people were killed, according to rescuers, by strikes on tents at the gates of Rafah, where refugees are taking refuge. hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

In the north, a strike killed three Palestinians near the Nousseirat camp (center), according to Civil Defense.

On October 7, Hamas commandos carried out an attack in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data. That day, 251 people were kidnapped, and 116 are still held hostage in Gaza, of whom 41 died, according to the army.

In response, the he Israeli army launched a major offensive on Gaza, which has so far killed 37,396 people, mostly civilians, according to data from the Health Ministry of the Hamas-led Gaza government.

The war has also caused a humanitarian catastrophe in the territory threatened by famine, according to the UN, and where international aid is in insufficient quantity.

The UN said a daily “humanitarian” pause announced by Israel in its morning-to-evening operations in one area of ​​Gaza had not yet resulted in an increase in aid for the Palestinian territory.

Doctors say 10 people were killed after an Israeli strike hit a group of Palestinians waiting for aid trucks to arrive near Rafah.

Despite calls for a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assures that he will continue the war until the elimination of Hamas, in power since 2007 in Gaza and considered a terrorist organization by the United States. United, the EU and Israel.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116