Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Monday that all Israeli land and sea “targets” are within the range of his terror group’s missiles, in the latest series of threats against the Jewish state amid an ongoing maritime dispute.
Speaking to the pro-Hezbollah Al Mayadeen TV, Nasrallah warned Israel against extracting gas from the Karish gas field — a natural gas reservoir located in the Eastern Mediterranean — before Lebanon “retains its rights” to the site, claiming that such a step would provoke a response.
“All land and sea targets of Israel are in the range of Hezbollah missiles,” the terror chief said.
Last week, Prime Minister Yair Lapid flew over the Karish gas field in an apparent Israeli attempt to demonstrate its sovereignty over the site.
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 late last month, all of which were intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces.
Nasrallah warned at the time that the drones sent to Karish were “only the beginning,” and that his group would go to war over the field.
On Monday, Nasrallah said the drone attack by Hezbollah was initiated in response to “violations” of Lebanon’s airspace by Israel. He claimed that such encroachments by Israel have reduced since the terror group’s UAV operation.
Israel and Lebanon, which do not have diplomatic relations, have been engaged in indirect talks mediated by the US over the rights to the offshore gas field as well as to demarcate a maritime border between the two countries.
US Energy Envoy Amos Hochstein visited the region last month and managed to convince Lebanon to come down from an earlier claim to a massive maritime zone that included Karish, which Israel seeks to develop as it tries to position itself as a natural gas supplier to Europe.
Nasrallah said Monday that “the Americans distracted Lebanon” with its negotiations as Israel began efforts to extract gas from the Eastern Mediterranean. He also claimed that the US “pressured” Lebanon to agree to Israel’s demands regarding the maritime border.
“The Lebanese state is incapable of making the right decision that would protect Lebanon and its riches, therefore the resistance must take this decision,” Nasrallah said, a further shot at the government in Beirut.
The Hezbollah leader clarified that his qualms are not just in regards to Karish, rather “all of the oil and gas fields looted by Israel in Palestine’s waters.”
Nasrallah also expressed his willingness to provide Iranian fuel to Lebanese power plants at no cost and lamented the Lebanese government’s refusal to accept the offer due to fears of international sanctions.
Still, he claimed that Iran is not seeking to expand its influence in the region — as the US and Israel claim — saying that it would have “abandoned Palestine” and reconciled with the US if that were its goal.
“Iran’s stance on the Palestinian cause is based on ideology and religion,” Nasrallah said. “It expects no thanks for it.”
He further claimed that Iran was not asking for anything in return for its support of Hezbollah. The Islamic Republic “standing by its friends and allies does not in any way mean that it controls them,” Nasrallah said, according to translations from the pro-Hezbollah Al-Manar TV.