Israel and Hamas at war, day 257 | Lebanese Hezbollah threatens Israel and Cyprus amid war in Gaza

(Beirut) The leader of Lebanese Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah warned on Wednesday that “no place” in Israel would be spared by his movement’s missiles in the event of an attack on Lebanon, amid fears of a conflagration linked to the war in the Gaza Strip.


Posted at 6:36 a.m.

Updated at 1:31 p.m.

Layal ABOU RAHAL

France Media Agency

Hassan Nasrallah also threatened Cyprus, the European Union member country closest to the coasts of the Middle East. “Opening Cypriot airports and bases to the Israeli enemy to target Lebanon would mean that the Cypriot government is party to the war,” he said in a televised speech broadcast live.

The devastating war in Gaza, which erupted after an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, has led to daily violence on the Israeli-Lebanese border between Hezbollah, an ally of the Palestinian Islamist movement, and the Israeli army. , which have intensified in recent weeks.

The army announced on Tuesday that “operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon” had been “validated”, leading to an escalation of bellicose rhetoric between Israel and the Lebanese Islamist movement armed and financed by Iran.

Also on Wednesday, Hezbollah said it had fired “dozens of Katyusha rockets and artillery shells” towards a barracks in northern Israel, in retaliation for Israeli strikes against targets in southern Lebanon. in which four of its fighters were killed.

“By sea, air and land”

“The enemy knows perfectly well that we have prepared for the worst […] He knows that no place […] will not be spared by our missiles,” said Mr. Nasrallah, whose movement is an essential political force in Lebanon. In the event of war, Israel should “wait for us by land, by sea and by air.”

“We received new weapons, we developed some of our weapons […] and we are keeping others for the days to come,” said the leader of the Lebanese movement which lost one of its highest commanders in an Israeli strike last week.

In his speech, Hassan Nasrallah threatened Cyprus, located in the Mediterranean some 300 kilometers from Israel and around 200 from Lebanon, and which maintains good relations with these two countries.

PHOTO RABIH DAHER, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Smoke in the village of Khiam, southern Lebanon.

The day before, the head of Israeli diplomacy Israel Katz said: “in a total war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be hit hard.”

An envoy of US President Joe Biden, Amos Hochstein, who has shuttled between Israel and Lebanon in recent days, deemed de-escalation on the Israeli-Lebanese border “urgent”.

He also defended the ceasefire plan in the Gaza Strip presented on May 31 by Joe Biden, affirming that it also represented “an opportunity to end the conflict” between Hezbollah and Israel.

Bombings and fighting in Gaza

In the Gaza Strip, besieged and devastated by more than eight months of war, Israeli bombardments continued, mainly in Rafah (south) where the army launched a ground offensive on May 7.

Several Israeli military vehicles entered the so-called Saudi neighborhood in the west of the city, supported by drone and tank fire, witnesses said. Fighting took place there between soldiers and Palestinian fighters, according to Islamic Jihad, an ally of Hamas.

Before dawn, seven people were killed, according to rescuers, by drone strikes on tents in the Al-Mawassi area, at the gates of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have taken refuge.

PHOTO BASHAR TALEB, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Palestinians fleeing bombs in Rafah.

In the north, witnesses reported shooting in Gaza City (north), and a strike killed three Palestinians near the Nousseirat camp (center), according to Civil Defense.

On October 7, Hamas commandos carried out an attack in southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data. That day, 251 people were kidnapped, and 116 are still held hostage in Gaza, of whom 41 died, according to the army.

In response, the Israeli army launched an offensive on the Gaza Strip, which has so far killed 37,396 people, mainly civilians, according to data from the Health Ministry of the Hamas-led Gaza government.

The war has also caused a humanitarian catastrophe in the territory, where international aid is arriving in insufficient quantities.

Despite calls for a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assures that he will continue the war until the elimination of Hamas, in power since 2007 in Gaza and considered a terrorist organization by the States. -United States, the European Union and Israel.

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