The leader of Hezbollah has warned of a “very costly” war “without limits” if Lebanon-Israel tensions escalate into a full-scale conflict.
Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address: "We are not afraid of war.”
The speech came one day after the targeted killing of senior Hamas official Salah al-Arouri in a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut.
Israel has been blamed for the strike in Lebanon that killed the deputy Politburo chief. However, Jerusalem has not taken responsibility for the drone blast, which also killed several other Hamas operatives.
Al-Arouri is the most high-profile figure to be assassinated and the first senior Hamas leader to be killed outside Israel or Gaza since the IDF’s offensive against Hamas began after the groups deadly attack on October 7, which killed at least 1,200 people, mostly civilians.
Nasrallah gave the pre-planned address on Wednesday to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the death of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp general Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the US in 2020.
Nasrallah said: “If the enemy thinks of waging a war on Lebanon, we will fight without restraint, without rules, without limits and without restrictions.”
The Hezbollah chief did not issue a concrete war threat but said “we are fighting on the frontline following meticulous calculations.”
The terror group leader warned: “Who thinks about engaging in a war with us will regret it, God willing! The war with us will be very, very, very costly.”
In the televised speech, the Shi’ite cleric vowed that the Iran-backed terror group “cannot be silent” in the wake of Al-Arouri's killing, which he called “a major dangerous crime.”
Daniel Hagari, a spokesperson for the Israeli army, did not directly comment on the Al-Arouri assassination, but said that the Israeli military was “highly prepared for any scenario.”
Since October 7, there have been daily clashes along the Lebanon border between Israeli troops, Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions.
Lebanese terrorists have targeted Israeli civilians, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate parts of northern Israel. There have been civilian deaths on both sides of the border.