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Saturday, July 20, 2024

‘We are at war with Israel,’ Hezbollah tells in an interview

The Lebanese militant group says it will continue attacking Israeli positions to support the besieged people of Gaza

The Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah is now part of the Israeli-Palestinian war and regularly attacks the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the group’s spokesman Haji Mohammad Afif has told RT in an exclusive interview. The group has essentially opened a second front against Israel amid the conflict in Gaza.

The Hezbollah movement is one of the most powerful political and military forces in Lebanon and claims to have as many as 100,000 fighters, a large range of weapons and military equipment, as well as a giant missile arsenal.

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In recent weeks, Hezbollah has increased its attacks on Israel following the outbreak of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in October, when Hamas fighters launched a surprise assault on Israeli positions from Gaza, killing some 1,200 people and capturing roughly 240 hostages. In response, the IDF besieged the enclave and relentlessly shelled the region, killing an estimated 18,787 people and injuring more than 50,000.

“We are a part of this war,” said Mohammaf Afif, noting that the Israeli attacks on south Lebanon were signs of “a real war.” 

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Although Lebanon and Israel are not officially in a state of war, the Israeli army has nevertheless shelled the country’s southern regions, where Hezbollah fighters are entrenched. According to Mohammad Afif, these attacks have caused tens of thousands of Lebanese people to flee their homes.

However, the Hezbollah spokesman admitted that, although the war is “real,” it is still not yet a large-scale conflict, noting that the Lebanese group is currently only using about 5% of its forces.

“This is normal. Hamas is not utilizing all its forces either. And the Russian Army is not using all its military forces in Ukraine,” he observed.

Nevertheless, Mohammad Afif stressed that his group would “maintain the current pace of the war, which we call the war of support and solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

Last month, a spokesman for Hamas also suggested that, if his group were to be eliminated in Gaza, then Hezbollah would only further escalate its involvement in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian faction.

The Israeli military has warned that Hezbollah would be making a “grave mistake” if it intensifies its attacks on Israel. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has advised the group against “dragging Lebanon into a war,” warning that the price for such a mistake would be first paid by the citizens of Lebanon.

“What we are doing in Gaza we know how to do in Beirut,” said Gallant.