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Nasrallah Threatens Further Escalation

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has made it clear that his powerful militia is already engaged in a fierce battle with Israel along the Lebanon-Israel border, and is prepared to take further action if necessary. In a televised address, Nasrallah stopped short of announcing that Hizbullah would fully enter the conflict, but warned that the fighting on the border would not be limited to the scale seen until now.

The Hizbullah leader was speaking just a day after the most significant escalation in clashes between Hizbullah and Israeli forces on the border since the latest Israel-Hamas war began. Nasrallah’s address was widely anticipated, and was watched by thousands of Hizbullah supporters in a square in southern Beirut.

Nasrallah claimed that Hizbullah’s cross-border strikes have pulled away Israeli forces that would otherwise be focused on Hamas in Gaza, and praised Hamas’s unprecedented incursion into Israel, which he described as a “great, large-scale operation” that was “purely the result of Palestinian planning and implementation”.

The Hizbullah leader also criticized the strong US backing of Israel in its bombardment of Gaza, which has killed over 9,000 people, mostly civilians. Nasrallah accused President Joe Biden of making a “fake argument” that Hamas had cut off children’s heads, without evidence, but had stayed silent for the thousands of children in Gaza who had been killed or injured by Israeli bombing.

Nasrallah’s speech was seen as a signal of whether the Israel-Hamas conflict would spiral into a regional war, with some analysts warning that Hizbullah’s involvement could drag in other countries, such as Syria and Iran. The Israeli military has been increasingly concerned about Hizbullah’s involvement in the conflict, and has deployed troops to the border with Lebanon.

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah (Via Hassan Nasrallah/Twitter)

The Lebanese militia has taken calculated steps to keep Israel’s military busy on its border, but has avoided igniting an all-out war. However, experts warn that a full-on conflict would be costly for Hizbullah, which fought a devastating war with Israel in 2006 that ended in a stalemate. A new all-out war would also displace hundreds of thousands of Hizbullah’s supporters and cause widespread damage at a time when Lebanon is already struggling with an economic meltdown.

The US has warned Hizbullah to stay out of the conflict, deploying warships to the Mediterranean Sea. However, Nasrallah dismissed these warnings, saying that American military deployment would not deter Hizbullah. The Hizbullah leader also warned that his militia was prepared to take all necessary options, and could resort to them at any time.

The impact of Hizbullah’s involvement in the conflict would be far-reaching, not just for Israel and Lebanon, but also for the wider region. The militia’s leader has shown no hesitation in escalating the conflict, and the world is holding its breath to see what will happen next.

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