Hezbollah dragging Lebanon into war
As Lebanon's Hezbollah has been exchanging fire with Israel across the border for the past two weeks amid the ongoing conflict, the Israeli military on Sunday said that the Iran-backed group is “playing a very dangerous game” and dragging Lebanon into the war with Hamas. Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Jonathan Conricus in a video said, “Hezbollah is escalating the situation…We are seeing more and more attacks every day.”
“…We maintain our focus on the south, but extremely important for everybody in Lebanon to ask themselves the question of the price. Is the Lebanese State really willing to jeopardize what is left of Lebanese prosperity and Lebanese sovereignty for the sake of terrorists in Gaza? For the ISIS of Gaza? That's a question that the Lebanese authorities need to ask themselves and answer because the way it is looking now Hezbollah is aggressing and it is dragging Lebanon into a war that it will gain nothing from but stands to lose a lot,” Conricus said.
Hezbollah was founded by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in 1982 - amid the Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war. The group was a part of Iran's effort to export its 1979 Islamic Revolution around the region and fight Israeli forces after their 1982 invasion of Lebanon. While earlier it was a shadow faction, the group has risen to a heavily armed force with major sway over the Lebanese state.
Hezbollah has been supporting other Iranian-backed groups across the Middle East and has trained armed groups in Iraq.
Last week, the group said that it is “fully prepared” to join its Palestinian ally Hamas in the war “when the time is right”. “We, as Hezbollah, are contributing to the confrontation and will (continue) to contribute to it within our vision and plan…We are fully prepared, and when the time comes for action, we will take it,” Hezbollah deputy chief Naim Qassem said.
The war between Israel and the Hamas militant group has entered its 16th day, with over 5,000 people being killed on both sides. Israel on Sunday made its intention clear to step up the air and missile strikes on Gaza in preparation for the “next stage” of its military operation.
(With inputs from agencies)