Lebanon's Nasrallah threatens 'war with Israel' over US policies

Lebanon's Nasrallah threatens 'war with Israel' over US policies
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened on Thursday to attack Israel in response to what he claimed was 'chaos' spread by the United States in Lebanon.
2 min read
17 February, 2023
Hassan Nasrallah warning came in a televised speech commemorating Hezbollah's fallen fighters [Getty]

The leader of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah on Thursday threatened war against Israel if the United States "pushed Lebanon to chaos".

Hassan Nasrallah warned during a televised speech commemorating Hezbollah's deceased fighters that his group "won't stand idly by" and watch Lebanon spiral further into "chaos", vowing to respond with force if the Lebanese people "suffered as a result of such chaos".

His comments came as Lebanon continued to grapple with a severe economic and political crisis, which recently led to increasing fear about security.

"We would rather extend our hand to make you feel pain. We will use our weapons where it will hurt you, even if that leads to the choice of war with your beloved Israel," Nasrallah said.

He also called on the Lebanese government to address the issue of offshore oil and gas exploration, warning that Hezbollah might take action if "procrastination" continued.

He said that if companies did not move forward with exploration, Hezbollah might stop Israel from continuing to produce gas from its fields.

Hezbollah, which does not recognise Israel, approved a maritime border agreement between Lebanon and Israel a few months ago.

The deal does not touch on the two countries' shared land border, where Israel and Hezbollah have clashed repeatedly in recent decades.

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Battling surging poverty and financial collapse, Lebanon has seen its national currency lose more than 95 percent of its market value against the dollar since 2019.

The country is being run by a caretaker government and is also without a president as lawmakers have repeatedly failed to elect a successor to Michel Aoun, whose mandate expired at the end of October.

The crisis has seen poverty rates climb to reach more than 80 percent of the population, according to the United Nations.