BEIRUT (Dispatches) – Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the Lebanese resistance movement had chosen to respond to Israeli airstrikes on open land, but could escalate its actions in the future.
Nasrallah said it would be wrong to assume Hezbollah would be constrained by internal divisions in Lebanon, or the country’s harsh economic crisis.
Nasrallah’s comments came a day after the movement fired rockets toward Zionist forces, calling it retaliation for Israeli airstrikes on southern Lebanon a day earlier.
“Any airstrike by Israel’s air force on Lebanon will be retaliated in a suitable way because we want to protect our country,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech marking the 15th anniversary of the end of the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon.
The occupying regime of Israel and Hezbollah are archenemies and have fought several wars in the past, the last of which ended in August 2006. The 34-day conflict ended with a draw that left 1,200 martyred in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 dead Israelis, mostly soldiers.
“Don’t miscalculate by saying that Hezbollah is busy with Lebanon’s problems,” Nasrallah said, adding that the firing of rockets was a “clear message.”
He added that Hezbollah had fired 20 rockets toward open fields only, because the Israeli airstrikes on Thursday had themselves hit open fields.
Nasrallah said Hezbollah wanted to show any Israeli airstrike would be responded to in “the appropriate and proportional way”.
“We chose yesterday open land in the Shebaa Farms area to send a message, and to take a step, and we can later escalate by another step,” Nasrallah said.
Nasrallah said that Hezbollah’s options included a response on any open land in “northern occupied Palestine,” Galilee, or the Golan Heights.
Lebanon is passing through its worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history, which the World Bank describes as among the worst the world has witnessed since the mid 1800s amid U.S. sanctions.
The Zionist regime estimates Hezbollah possesses over 130,000 rockets and missiles capable of striking anywhere in the occupied Palestinian territories. In recent years, Israel also has expressed concerns that the movement is developing an arsenal of precision-guided missiles.
“We always used to say that we are not looking for war and we don’t want war but we are ready for it,” Nasrallah said.
Nasrallah in his speech harshly criticized the judge leading the investigation into last year’s massive blast in Beirut’s port that killed and wounded many people. Nasrallah said the work of judge Tarek Bitar is “politicized.”
Nasrallah asked why Bitar filed charges against outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab, but not the premiers who preceded him.