Hezbollah threatens to 'sever' Israel's hands over gas reserves

Hezbollah threatens to 'sever' Israel's hands over gas reserves
2 min read
Lebanon's Hezbollah has made further threats against the UAE over a disputed gas field.
Lebanon's Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah said 'no one should be allowed to rob the country' as he issued his warning [Getty]

Lebanon's Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah warned Israel on Tuesday against exploiting offshore gas reserves at a time US-mediated talks on settling a maritime border dispute.

Hezbollah has sent drones toward the gas field and ratcheted up rhetoric but with little concrete action.

Nasrallah has also spoken against the LGBTQ community and atheism in recent days.

"The hand that reaches for any of this wealth will be severed," he said during a televised speech marking the Shia Muslim mourning ritual of Ashura.

"Lebanon's oil, gas and water resources must remain under its control and no one should be allowed to rob the country."

The dispute escalated in early June after Israel moved a production vessel near the Karish offshore field, which is partly claimed by Lebanon.

This prompted Beirut to call for the resumption of US-mediated negotiations, while Nasrallah has responded by repeatedly launching threats.

On July 2, Israel said it had downed three drones launched by Hezbollah that were headed towards Karish.

That same month, the movement released a video it said showed surveillance of several Israeli-chartered ships, including the production vessel sent to Karish.

Live Story

Nasrallah's comments on Tuesday came as Lebanon awaits a response from Israel to an offer on the border dispute it submitted to US mediator Amos Hochstein last month.

Nasrallah said: "We are waiting for a response to the demands of the Lebanese state, and we will respond accordingly, but I tell you ... we must be ready and prepared for all possibilities.

"We will go all the way, so no one should try us."

Lebanon and Israel, which fought their last war in 2006, had resumed maritime border negotiations in 2020 but the process had been stalled until the latest developments revived negotiations in June.

Hochstein told a Lebanon broadcaster this month that he is working towards a solution that would allow Israel to continue operations in Karish while also allowing Lebanon to enter the energy market.

An Israeli official last month said Israel's offer would allow Lebanon to develop the so-called Sidon reservoir, also known as the Qana field, which is located in the disputed zone.

Lebanon is currently financially bankrupt and desperate for funding sources.