Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s powerful armed movement Hezbollah, issued a warning on Tuesday against any attempts by Israel to target Lebanese terrorists in addition to Palestinians.
In a speech broadcast on television to celebrate Ashura, a somber celebration among Shi’ite Muslims of the murder of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hussein, Nasrallah declared that “any attack on any human being would not go unpunished or unanswered.”
The comments came after a flare-up in violence between Israel and the Islamic Jihad movement in the Gaza strip, prompted by Israel’s arrest of a senior Islamic Jihad leader earlier this month.
On Saturday, Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz hinted at the possible targeting of Islamic Jihad officials abroad, who he said could be seen in “restaurants and hotels in Tehran, Syria and Lebanon”.
“They too will have to pay the price,” Gantz said.
On Monday, a day after a truce brokered by Egypt ended the Gaza violence, he said Israel could carry out “pre-emptive strikes” abroad.
“In the future too, if necessary, we will deliver a pre-emptive strike in order to defend Israel’s citizens, sovereignty and infrastructure and this is true for all fronts, from Teheran to Khan Younis,” he said.
Iran-backed Hezbollah is vehemently opposed to Israel and tensions between the two have been escalating in recent months over a disputed maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.