Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that his forces would continue their skirmishes with the Israeli military until Hamas achieves victory in Gaza. Nasrallah warned that an attack on Lebanon would be the “most foolish mistake” in Israeli history.
“What is happening in Gaza today is not just another war; it is a decisive historical battle with consequences that will reshape the future,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech. Hezbollah’s objectives in this battle, he stated, are to “stop the aggression” on Gaza and ensure that Hamas “achieves victory” against Israel.
Read more: Israel in Gaza: No good options
Nasrallah’s speech was his first since Hamas militants launched their surprise attack on Israel on October 7. The Hezbollah leader said that his group was not involved in planning the attack, but took the opportunity to “enter the battle” the following day.
In the initial days of the war, Hezbollah limited its activity to sporadic rocket and small arms fire into Israel from Lebanese territory, with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responding with artillery and drone strikes. These skirmishes have increased in frequency and intensity over the last two weeks, and IDF troops were placed on high alert ahead of Nasrallah’s speech, for fear that the militant leader would announce a major operation against the Jewish State.
No such announcement came. Nasrallah said that his forces have contributed to the fight so far by tying up a third of Israel’s combat troops and almost half of its naval assets near the Lebanese border. This has reduced the number of troops available for the ground operation in Gaza and caused “a state of anxiety, anticipation, panic, and fear among the enemy’s political and military leadership,” Nasrallah claimed.
Hezbollah is ready for any escalation by the Israeli side, he said, warning West Jerusalem that “if you contemplate an attack or launch a military operation against Lebanon, you will commit the most foolish mistake in your existence.” Should a wider war break out, he warned the US that “you Americans will pay with your ships, your aircraft, and your soldiers.”
Nasrallah added that “there will be more actions” against Israel on multiple fronts in the coming days.
Israeli officials have issued similarly stark threats to Hezbollah too, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising to strike Lebanon with “unimaginable strength” if Nasrallah’s group makes the “mistake of its life” by entering the war.
Speaking in Tel Aviv immediately after Nasrallah’s speech, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that “with regard to Lebanon, with regard to Hezbollah, with regard to Iran – we have been very clear from the outset that we are determined that there not be a second or third front opened in this conflict.”