The leader of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah party, Hasan Nasrallah, warned Israel this Wednesday that if it opens a new front on Lebanese soil, his organization will fight because “it is not afraid of war.” “If Israel is thinking about a war against Lebanon, we will fight to the end, without limits. The enemy knows what I mean,” he said in a televised speech. “If until now we have been careful with Lebanese interests, (if Israel attacks) Lebanon’s interests will demand that we go all the way,” he warned.

The Lebanese leader was expected to offer clues about how his organization will respond to the Israeli drone attack in Beirut, which killed the number two in Hamas’s political wing, Saleh al Arouri. “What happened yesterday was dangerous and criminal and, as we said previously, this crime will not go without retaliation,” he declared, without giving further details of his plan.

The Hezbollah leader previously stressed that he had no intention of starting an open war against Tel Aviv and that he wanted to focus on wearing down the Israeli army with hostilities from Lebanon’s southern border. “If there was no front from Lebanon, then Israel would have destroyed the entire country,” he said. “Yesterday the Israelis said that they had no intention of attacking Lebanon, that it was only Hamas. Only cowards and children believe this phrase,” he snapped. Apart from offering condolences to al Arouri’s family, Nasrallah did not speak further about the attack in Beirut, although he stressed that he would give more details of Hezbollah’s intentions in a new speech this Friday.

The Hezbollah leader accused Israel of “failing to achieve any of its objectives” and failing to “impose any rules on Gaza.” “They have not been able to get any live hostages. The internal disagreements (in the Government) are widening. Everyone is hiding daggers in their backs, we will see what kind of Israel will emerge,” he speculated.

Likewise, Nasrallah rejected in his speech the requests of the United States and France to withdraw his forces from southern Lebanon, complying with a UN resolution approved after the war with Israel in 2006. Washington and Paris have been pressuring Hezbollah for weeks to to disarm in the south, in an attempt to avoid a further escalation of war and the opening of a new war front with Israel. “What is happening in Gaza is proof that international law and international institutions are not capable of protecting any people or anyone,” he declared. “22,000 martyrs in Gaza and they ask Lebanon: ‘Hand over your weapons, the international community will protect you’. They have blindness in their hearts,” he added. The steady trickle of clashes on the Lebanese-Israeli border since the start of the Gaza offensive has increased dramatically in the last week. The clashes have already caused 161 deaths, including 21 civilians, in addition to the evacuation of more than 100,000 Lebanese and Israeli civilians on both sides of the border.

On the other hand, the Hezbollah leader also offered his condolences to Iran for the attack suffered today in Kerman, in the southeast of the country, which caused the death of 103 people and which Tehran described as “terrorist.” Two devices exploded during the commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, architect of Iranian foreign policy in the Middle East and killed in a US drone attack.

Nasrallah thanked Soleimani for strengthening the “Axis of Resistance”, the alliance of military forces such as Hamas, Lebanon or Iranian proxies under the influence of Tehran. Nasrallah assured that this union is equal and that each organization is individual and operates at its will. “The Houthis, Lebanese and Iraqis do not operate on orders from Iran, but based on decisions of the Resistance factions in each country and in line with their national priorities,” he assured. “When the brothers in Yemen make the decision to start a war in the Red Sea to break the siege on Gaza, they immediately think that Iran asked them to do it. This is false,” he added.