Tension rises again in the Middle East after the fall of Israeli drones in Lebanon, in an already complicated context with the kidnapping of two soldiers from the Jewish state and the assassination of a third.
Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday threatened Israel with retaliation after an armed drone attack on his Beirut stronghold, devastating war against the Jewish state in 2006.
Israel did not confirm the pre-dawn attack in the southern Shiite suburb of Beirut, but Israel said it had bombed targets in neighboring Syria on Saturday to prevent an Iranian attack on its territory by drones.
Considered by Israel and the United States as a “terrorist organization,” Hezbollah’s powerful armed movement is a major political player in Lebanon. He is also involved in the Syrian conflict in support of the regime, along with Iran, another arch-enemy of Israel.
“What happened was a kamikaze drone attack against a target in the southern suburbs of Beirut,” Nasrallah thundered in a speech broadcast live on a giant screen, in front of his supporters in the same sector.
According to him, a reconnaissance drone flew over the southern suburbs before the arrival of an armed drone that “struck a particular place”, without specifying what was this “target”. The attack did not kill anyone but damage to the Hezbollah’s media center.
“I say to the Israeli army at the borders. From this night, get ready, and wait for us one day, two, three, four, “hammered the Hezbollah leader, speaking in a tone sometimes choleric and raising the tone.
“Do not live, do not rest, do not be reassured, and do not bet for a moment that Hezbollah will allow […] such aggression,” he said, addressing “all the inhabitants of occupied Palestine (Israel, Ed.) “.
Hezbollah will not “allow such drone attacks to be repeated at any price” and “will do anything to prevent them” in the future.
Nasrallah described the attack as Israel’s “first act of aggression” in Lebanon since the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, which left 1,200 dead on the Lebanese side and 160 on the Israeli side.
Since then, Hassan Nasrallah has been living in hiding and has appeared only rarely in public.
Prior to his speech, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized in a telephone interview with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri “the need to avoid escalation”.
Hezbollah’s political rival, Mr. Hariri denounced the “aggression” of Israel.
In recent years, hostility between Hezbollah and Israel has been most prominent in Syria, torn apart by a complex war since 2011. Israel has conducted several raids against Hezbollah positions.
In his speech, Nasrallah said that new Israeli raids targeted a Hezbollah position near Damascus on Saturday night, killing two fighters. “There was only Lebanese youth from Hezbollah in the bombed-out area. It was a place where they rest. It was not a military position.
But the Israeli army said it had struck near Damascus positions of “al-Quds force” to warn of an attack by this elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards against targets in northern Israel. with killer drones “.
” Suffer the consequences “
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), an NGO that relies on a vast network of sources throughout Syria, the Israeli strikes targeted Hezbollah positions but also Iranian forces in Aqraba, south of Damascus.
The Observatory reported the deaths of two Hezbollah members, but also one Iranian and two “foreign” fighters.
In Tehran, a senior Iranian official denied that al-Quds positions were affected. After the strikes in Syria, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed “major operational action”, ensuring that Iran did not enjoy “No immunity”.
“Any country that allows the use of its territory for aggression against Israel will suffer the consequences,” he warned.
In Iraq, the powerful Iraqi paramilitary force Hachd al-Shaabi also accused Israel, for the first time publicly, of being behind a drone attack on Sunday that killed one of its fighters in western Iraq near the border. Syrian. This force is made up of pro-Iranian armed groups.