As US mediator Amos Hochstein returns to Beirut

Hezbollah renews threats on Israeli gas field: ‘Playing with time is useless’

Lebanese terror group publishes recent footage of gas extraction sites in Karish field, and apparent weapon being readied; video ends by saying sites are ‘within range’

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

This screengrab from a Hezbollah video publication on July 31, 2022, shows Energean's floating production system at the Karish gas field. (Screengrab: Telegram)
This screengrab from a Hezbollah video publication on July 31, 2022, shows Energean's floating production system at the Karish gas field. (Screengrab: Telegram)

The Lebanese Hezbollah terror group on Sunday morning published a video threatening the gas extraction infrastructure at an Israeli offshore field, near a disputed maritime border between the countries.

Hezbollah has recently escalated its rhetoric and actions over the border dispute, after Israel moved a natural gas drilling vessel into its Karish field, which Lebanon claims is a disputed area. In its boldest move, Hezbollah sent four drones toward the Karish platform several weeks ago, all of which were intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces.

Sunday’s video opens with text reading “Playing with time is useless,” in both Hebrew and Arabic.

Footage and the coordinates of the Arendal Spirit platform, Energean’s floating production system, and Stena’s Icemax drill, are presented in between clips of an apparent naval missile system being readied.

Some clips of the gas extraction sites are dated July 30.

“Within range,” the end of the video reads.

Israel and Lebanon, which do not have diplomatic relations, have been engaged in indirect talks mediated by the US over the rights to the Karish gas field and to demarcate a contested maritime border between the two countries.

Earlier this month, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that the drones sent to the Karish field were “only the beginning,” and that his group would go to war over the field.

File: Hezbollah fighters raise their hands as their leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks via a video link during a rally to mark Jerusalem day or Al-Quds day, in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, April 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Some Lebanese leaders criticized the terror group for launching the drones, saying it was an unnecessarily risky action.

Read more: Hezbollah hints it’s ready for a war over gas — but knows Lebanon can’t afford one

A sea-based Iron Dome air defense system is seen on a Navy ship, guarding the Energean floating production, storage and offloading vessel at the Karish gas field, in footage published by the military on July 2, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Lebanon’s financial situation, which has been spiraling out of control since 2019, has been branded by the World Bank as one of the world’s worst economic crises since the 1850s. Meanwhile, the country faces major political chaos, exacerbated by the deadly 2020 Beirut port explosion.

Israeli leaders have countered that the country’s military will act against any threat, and have called on Lebanon to reach a deal so it can begin extracting gas and pulling itself out of its current economic tailspin. Israel has also issued stern warnings to Hezbollah through diplomatic and military channels.

Israel maintains sovereignty over the Karish gas field and has been seeking to develop it as it tries to position itself as a natural gas supplier to Europe.

Lebanon’s caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayad (R) meets with US Senior Adviser for Energy Security Amos Hochstein in Beirut on July 31, 2022. (Anwar AMRO / AFP)

On Friday, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said he was more optimistic than ever about the negotiations. On Sunday, US energy envoy Amos Hochstein flew back to Lebanon for talks.

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