Hassan Nasrallah’s speech was eagerly awaited, the day after the assassination in Beirut of Saleh Al-Arouri, the number two in the Hamas political bureau. On Wednesday January 3, in his third speech since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, on October 7, 2023, the leader of pro-Iranian Hezbollah warned Israel and assured “not to fear war.”

“For the moment, we are fighting on the front in a calculated manner (…), but if the enemy thinks of launching a war against Lebanon, we will fight without limits, without restrictions, without borders,” assured Hassan Nasrallah in this retransmitted speech live on television. Hassan Nasrallah affirmed that the assassination of the leader of Hamas, his ally, was “a dangerous crime” and assured that he “would not go unpunished”, repeating the terms of a Hezbollah press release published after the attack Tuesday evening . The Israeli army did not claim responsibility for the strike but said on Wednesday it was preparing for “any scenario”. On Wednesday evening, it announced in a statement that fighter jets had “struck a number of Hezbollah terrorist targets in Lebanon, including terrorist infrastructure and a military building,” without elaborating.

Hezbollah called this assassination a “serious aggression against Lebanon” but also a “serious development in the war between the enemy and the axis of resistance”, an expression referring to Iran and its regional allies hostile to Israel. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati accused Israel of “wanting to drag Lebanon into a new phase of confrontation.”

“Devastating consequences”

UN peacekeepers patrolling the Lebanese side of the border warned on Wednesday of the “devastating consequences” that an escalation between Israel and the powerful Shiite party could have. “We continue to implore all parties to cease their firing and all influential interlocutors to call for restraint,” Deputy Spokesperson for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, Kandice Ardiel, said in a statement. .

The German Foreign Ministry on Wednesday called on its nationals to quickly leave Lebanon “by the quickest means.” “A further aggravation of the situation and an extension of the conflict cannot be excluded, particularly after the assassination of the vice-president of the Hamas political bureau, Saleh Al-Arouri (…). This applies in particular to the southern parts of Lebanon, up to and including the urban areas of southern Beirut,” the ministry writes on its website. “The security situation in the region is very volatile,” he insists. This warning was formulated after a meeting on Wednesday of the German government’s crisis unit.