Netanyahu warns Hezbollah ‘no terrorist is immune’
Hezbollah should look at what has happened to Hamas militants before escalating its conflict with Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cautioned.
Cross-border fighting between the Lebanon-based militant group and Israeli forces has continued since Hezbollah declared itself “at war” with Israel shortly after the conflict in Gaza started last October.
At a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said “I suggest that Hezbollah learn what Hamas has already learned in recent months: no terrorist is immune,” he added.
“We are determined to protect our citizens and return the residents of the north safely to their homes. This is a national goal that we all share and we act responsibly to achieve it. If we can, we will do it through diplomatic means, and if not, we will act in other ways.”
On Saturday, Hezbollah declared that it had fired dozens of missiles at the Mount Meron air control base in northern Israel, close to the Lebanese border. The militant group said the attack had been carried out in response to the assassination of Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut, which it has blamed on Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) admitted that the base had been damaged, but did not elaborate on the scale of destruction. In response, the IDF carried out several attacks on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon.
The war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza started after some 1,200 people were killed in a cross-border attack by Hamas on October 7. More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by the militant group. Since then, almost 23,000 people have been killed in Gaza.
In his speech on Sunday, Netanyahu vowed to continue fighting, as “the war must not be stopped until we complete all of its goals – the elimination of Hamas, the return of all our hostages, and a promise that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel.”
He stressed that his message was addressed “to both our enemies and our friends,” as Israel’s closest ally – the US – has already voiced its concerns over the ongoing escalation.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit Tel Aviv this week. On Sunday, he declared that “too many Palestinian civilians are suffering from insufficient access to food, to water, to medicine, to other essential supplies.”
“I will also raise the imperative of doing more to prevent civilian casualties,” he added, while commenting on upcoming talks with Israeli officials. “Far too many innocent Palestinians have already been killed.”