The leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah terror organization, Hassan Nasrallah, fiercely condemned Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip Saturday and issued a warning to the Jewish state during a televised address.
Nasrallah warned Israel to “not miscalculate in Lebanon,” a possible reference to potential Israeli strikes there, but also to the ongoing maritime dispute over gas drilling rights off the two countries’ coasts.
Nasrallah backed the Palestinian right to “resistance,” after Israel embarked on a campaign against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group Friday.
He added: “Every honorable person should support this right and no one should question this right, because silence will open the doors to assassinations again to all leaders and cadres in Gaza.”
The terror chief said Hezbollah was in contact with both PIJ and the Hamas terror group, adding that “the resistance will have the upper hand in the battle.”
All three groups, but particularly Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, are backed by Iran.
The Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Breaking Dawn with airstrikes in Gaza on Friday afternoon in response to what officials said was an ongoing “concrete” threat by PIJ to target Israeli civilians and soldiers. It killed an Islamic Jihad commander and members of a terror cell that the IDF spokesman said were preparing to “mow down” Israelis near the Gaza border.
Islamic Jihad then began to fire relentless barrages of rockets at Israeli communities in southern and central Israel, with the rocket fire continuing into Saturday night.
At the same time, Israel has dealt with tension on its northern border with Lebanon recently, due to a maritime border dispute between the two countries.
Tensions increased after a gas production vessel arrived in Israel to conduct extraction operations in the offshore Karish field, drawing condemnation from Lebanon, which has laid claim to parts of it.
Israel claims the field is part of its UN-recognized exclusive economic zone and has been seeking to develop Karish as it tries to position itself as a natural gas supplier to Europe.
Over the past month, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has threatened Israel over the dispute a number of times. Last week, he warned all Israeli land and sea “targets” are within the range of his terror group’s missiles.
In its boldest move, Hezbollah last month sent four drones toward the platform, all of which were intercepted by the IDF.
Briefing the security cabinet Wednesday, senior officials warned that if an agreement is not reached in the maritime border dispute with Lebanon, Israel may be dragged into a military conflict with Hezbollah, the Walla news site reported.
US Senior Adviser for Energy Security Amos Hochstein has been helping broker talks on the dispute for more than a year.
According to Hochstein, Lebanon has agreed to drop demands for control of part of the Karish field, asking in exchange for full control of the Qana gas field that also straddles the countries’ offshore economic zones.