Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Iran’s mission to the United Nations said on Friday that if Israel embarks on a “full-scale military aggression” in Lebanon against Hezbollah, “an obliterating war will ensue.”

The warning came after the Israel Defense Force attacked several Hezbollah positions, in response to the Iran-backed terror group’s latest barrage on northern Israel hours earlier, amid escalating tensions on the Lebanese border.

Writing on X on Friday, the Iranian UN mission said that if Israel were to launch a war on Hezbollah, “all options, including the full involvement of all resistance fronts, are on the table.”

Iran’s “Axis of Resistance,” which includes Hezbollah, Hamas, Yemen’s Houthis, and other groups in Syria and Iraq, has been targeting Israel since October 7, when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists stormed southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 251 hostages, sparking the war in Gaza.

Iran itself also launched an unprecedented missile-and-drone strike on Israel on April 14, two weeks after an alleged Israel airstrike near Tehran’s embassy in Damascus killed several senior officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Iranian strike was almost entirely repelled by Israel, the United States and other allies, though a 7-year-old girl was seriously injured in the attack.

Soon after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, Israel evacuated much of its north, fearing Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, would carry out a similar attack. Some 60,000 residents of northern Israel remain displaced, as the country seeks to remove the terror group from its northern border.

Diplomatic efforts led by the US have so far failed to make the terror group retreat beyond the Litani River — some 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of the border with Israel — in accord with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah conflict.

Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah have been steadily mounting, with a US official cited in Politico on Thursday as saying that the risk of war is higher than it has been for weeks. According to the official, a major attack by either side could spark a war, which could happen with “little notice.”

In a June 19 speech, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said “no place” in Israel would be spared from the group’s weapons in case of a full-blown war, adding that Hezbollah would fight with “no rules” and “no ceilings.”

He also threatened Cyprus for allowing Israel to use its territory for military exercises, and appeared to threaten Israel’s offshore gas rigs, saying Israel “knows that what also awaits it in the Mediterranean is very big.”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks at a ceremony commemorating a slain Hezbollah senior commander, June 19, 2024. (Screenshot)

Speaking at a ceremony commemorating senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdullah, whom Israel killed in an airstrike a week before, Nasrallah said the Shiite terror group does not want “total war” but is only acting in support of Hamas.

“We will continue to support Gaza and we are ready for anything. We are not afraid,” said Nasrallah. “Our demand is clear: A complete and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.”

Israeli security leaders have also said they would prefer a diplomatic resolution to the conflict, but were readying the military in case war became necessary.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks with troops at an Iron Dome battery in northern Israel, July 28, 2024. (Shachar Yurman/Defense Ministry)

Speaking to troops at an Iron Dome air defense battery in northern Israel on Friday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the country was “not looking for war.”

“[We are] preparing the military force… and this can happen quickly. On the other hand, the political alternative is being prepared, it is always better,” said Gallant.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report. 

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