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“Hezbollah: Next Confrontation With Israel Could be Invasion”
by Jack Moore Newsweek   
May 13th, 2017

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. Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty

He was speaking on the anniversary of the assassination of the group’s military commander Mustafa Badreddine in a blast near the Damascus airport in Syria last May. The group blamed Israel but the Israel’s military chief Gadi Eisenkot said Hezbollah’s own members were responsible for Badreddine’s death.

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.

The Lebanese militia fought a one-month war with Israel, its primary enemy, in 2006. It began with a cross-border Hezbollah attack against Israel and the conflict centered on the southern Lebanese border with northern Israel, and the Golan Heights.

It continues to have a presence near the Israeli-controlled territory on the border with Syria, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. The group supports the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the minority Shiite sect known as the Alawites.

Since that war, 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.

Israeli security forces are suspected to have been involved in previous assassinations of top Hezbollah commanders. In February 2008, the CIA killed senior Hezbollah leader Imad Mugniyah in a car bomb in Damascusl, with the Israeli intelligence service Mossad reported to have played a key role in the success of the mission.

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