Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to crush Hezbollah if it launches an attack against Israel, after the militant group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, claimed that Tel Aviv was within rocket range.
Speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, The Israeli prime minister warned of a “crushing” retaliation should the Iran-backed, Lebanese group dare to strike.
“Let me be clear – if Hezbollah dares to make the mistake of attacking Israel, we will lay upon it and on Lebanon a crushing military blow,” Netanyahu said.
The remarks come just days after Nasrallah stated that a number of Israeli targets along the Mediterranean coast, including Tel Aviv, were “within range of our rockets.”
In an address marking the annual commemoration of the 2006 Second Lebanon War with Israel, Nasrallah added that Iran was “able to bombard Israel with ferocity and force,” but “will not start a war.”
The 2006 conflict killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, the majority of them soldiers.
Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah have been on the rise, with Israeli airstrikes even attacking alleged Hezbollah targets inside Syria.
Considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Hezbollah is said to have played a key role in pushing Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and foreign-funded “moderate” rebels out of Syria.
With the war in Syria winding down, some worry that a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah now looms. Israel recently uncovered a series of tunnels connecting Lebanon with its territory. Tel Aviv has claimed that Hezbollah planned to use the underground network to launch an attack.
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