Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised an “unimaginable” scenario if Hezbollah attacks Israel for the second time from across the border.
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Over the past month, as Israel and Hamas engaged in a deadly war, Hezbollah has repeatedly targeted Israeli armour and military positions from across the border in Lebanon.
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Islamist group Hezbollah, applauded Hamas for attacking Israel in his first appearance during the war. People flocked to the streets of the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to hear the televised speech, which was accompanied by celebratory gunshots.
It is also assumed that the Islamist leader only appears on television because he fears being assassinated by Israel.
The speech made threats against US involvement in the ongoing conflict. The US warning to stay out of the battle did not dissuade the militia in Lebanon, according to Nasrallah, an ally of Hamas, the terrorist organisation that controls Gaza. He also mentioned that the American warships in the Mediterranean Sea do not worry the militia.
The broadcast has been highly anticipated to confirm whether the conflict will turn into a regional war following the few exchanges between Lebanon and Israel over the past month at the border.
History of Hezbollah and Israel
The objective to oppose Israel dates back to 1980, when Iran, the region’s most dominant Shia power, established the politically influential and most powerful armed force in Lebanon. At the time, the Israeli forces occupied southern Lebanon during the country’s civil war.
The Shia organisation controls all military forces in Lebanon and has participated in national elections since 1992. From that time on, it had a major political presence in the region.
The conflict between the countries in 2000 was huge when Lebanese armed forces carried out a deadly attack on Israeli and US forces. Israel withdrew from Lebanon in the same year, Hezbollah took credit for pushing them out.
Since then, the Islamist organisation has set up a huge arsenal of missiles and trained fighters in southern Lebanon. However, the motive has been to oppose Israel all this while.
The Western States, Gulf Arab countries, Israel, and the Arab League declared the organisation a terrorist group.
In 2006, another conflict of a large magnitude broke out between Israel and Hezbollah due to a cross-border raid by the Islamist group.
Israeli troops invaded southern Lebanon to eliminate threats from Hezbollah after the 2006 attack, but it failed. Since then, military power has become exponentially large and strong in Lebanon.
Will Hezbollah Go to War Against Israel?
Hassan Nasrallah, in his speech, addressed its support for Hamas but did not confirm its complete invasion into the conflict.
However, the frequent attacks in northern Israel at military positions since October 7 hint that something large can take place.
Hezbollah has launched rockets, fired anti-tank missiles at armoured vehicles, and attacked Israeli military targets with explosive drones. To which the Israeli Defence Force retaliated, using tanks, artillery fire, and air strikes at Hezbollah’s position on the border.
The Islamist organisation is thought to retain some 130,000 rockets and missiles, according to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tank. Nasrallah, for his part, affirmed that the militia had over 100,000 fighters, with estimates ranging from 20,000 to 50,000.
However, both Israel and Hezbollah soldiers have died in the raids conducted after October 7, due to which Israel has evacuated civilians from the area.
Daniel Hagari, an IDF spokesperson, said in a recent interview that the forces are on “very high alert” at the northern border of Israel.