The leader of the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah said Thursday that the next conflict with Israel could occur inside its territory, suggesting the militia could invade its southern neighbor.
Hassan Nasrallah, a longtime foe of Israel, said the group could battle Israel within its borders, as tensions continue to rise over Hezbollah’s continued involvement in the Syrian conflict.
“Israel has been threatening for 10 years to open a front against Hezbollah, but it hasn't done anything. Israel is afraid of any confrontation...and knows that it could be inside the occupied Palestinian territories,” he said in a televised speech. He was referring to what is known as modern-day Israel, but for anti-Israel groups like Hezbollah, part of their mission is to oppose the existence of the Jewish state.
“There will be no place that is out of reach of the rockets of the resistance or the boots of the resistance fighters,” he continued. He called Israel’s attempts to place barriers along its shared border with Lebanon an acknowledgement of defeat in the face of the threat from the north.
“This border wall is an acknowledgment of Lebanon’s massive victory and Israel’s defeat. It is a defeat of Israel’s schemes and ambitions and an acknowledgment of the fall of the Greater Israel project which wanted to establish a state from the Nile to the Euphrates,” he said, according to the Times of Israel.
Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah addresses a crowd during commemorations for Ashura in a southern Beirut suburb on October 12, 2016. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned on Thursday that his group's next confrontation with Israel could take place within Israeli territory.
Nasrallah has threatened Israel with invasion before, and earlier this year said the militant group’s rockets could strike anywhere in Israeli territory, a regular claim made by Israel’s enemies.
Israel has conducted strikes against Hezbollah commanders in Syria and is believed to have been behind a number of assassination attempts against its top figures in Lebanon. The group poses a strategic threat to Israel on both fronts.
Israel has conducted military drills in its northern regions to prepare for a Hezbollah incursion over the border. Israeli press reports continue to speculate that Hezbollah is keen on an incursion into Israeli territory to seize a key asset, such as a base or even a town.