Iranian Foreign Minister Warns Israel of Severe Consequences for Gaza Attacks from Beirut
Iran’s foreign minister has urged Israel to cease its attacks on Gaza, cautioning that the conflict could spread to other parts of the Middle East if Hezbollah becomes involved. Hossein Amirabdollahian stated in Beirut that Hezbollah has carefully considered all potential outcomes of a war, emphasizing the need for Israel to halt its offensive in Gaza promptly.
Israel views Hezbollah as its most significant immediate threat, estimating that the group possesses around 150,000 rockets and missiles, including precision-guided ones capable of hitting any part of Israel. With thousands of battle-hardened fighters who participated in Syria’s lengthy conflict, Hezbollah also possesses various types of military drones.
Following last Saturday’s attack by Hamas, the militant Palestinian group, which resulted in the deaths of numerous Israeli civilians and soldiers, Hezbollah fighters have been on high alert along Lebanon’s borders with Israel.
The Israeli military recently reported that an Israeli drone strike near the border with Lebanon eliminated a “cell” attempting to infiltrate into Israel. Additionally, Hezbollah confirmed that its fighters launched several rockets at four Israeli positions along the border.
On Saturday afternoon, Hezbollah fighters unleashed a barrage of rockets and shells at Israeli positions in the disputed Chebaa Farms region. In response, Israeli troops fired on nearby areas in southern Lebanon.
According to Lebanon’s state news agency, Israeli shelling of a border village resulted in the deaths of a man and his wife, while Hezbollah reported the death of one of its fighters on Saturday.
Amirabdollahian held discussions in Beirut on Saturday with Saleh Arouri, the top Hamas official in exile, and Ziad Nakhaleh, the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, to address the situation in Gaza and the broader region. Hamas officials have consistently claimed that the attack on southern Israel last Saturday was carried out by their group alone, emphasizing that Iran played no role in it. However, Hamas officials did not respond to requests for confirmation and further details about the meeting.
After a tour that encompassed visits to Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, where Tehran wields significant influence, Amirabdollahian departed Beirut on Saturday afternoon. He revealed that he had met with Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday, who provided him with an update on the group’s status in Lebanon.
“I am aware of the contingency plans that Hezbollah has in place,” Amirabdollahian stated. “Any action taken by the resistance (Hezbollah) will have seismic consequences for the Zionist entity.”
Amirabdollahian added, “I wish to forewarn the war criminals and the supporters of this entity that they must stop the atrocities against civilians in Gaza before it is too late, as that time may come within a few hours.”
With a focus on Hezbollah, President Joe Biden has cautioned other actors in the Middle East against getting involved in the conflict. In response, he dispatched American warships to the region and pledged full support for Israel.
The Iranian foreign minister intends to contact U.N. officials in the Middle East, stating that “there is still an opportunity to pursue an initiative to end the war, but it may be too late by tomorrow.”
The prospect of a new front in Lebanon evokes bitter memories of the intense month-long war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006, which culminated in a stalemate and a tense ceasefire between the two parties.