Lebanese Hezbollah said on Thursday (May 11) that any future conflict between the Shi’ite group and Israel could take place inside Israeli territory, at a time of heightened tension between the arch foes.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, also said in a speech televised live that the group was dismantling all its military positions along Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria, and this area would now be patrolled just by the Lebanese army.
Hezbollah, an ally of Tehran and Damascus, has been fighting for years in Syria‘s conflict against an array of rebels and Sunni Islamist fighters.
The Syrian conflict has also been an arena where tensions between Israel and Hezbollah have ramped up. Recent Israeli air strikes against Hezbollah targets in Syria appeared to mark a more assertive stance towards the group. The two sides last fought a war in 2006.
Nasrallah played down the prospects of another imminent conflict, but warned it could take place on Israeli territory, after saying earlier this year that Hezbollah’s rockets could hit targets anywhere inside the country.
Israel meanwhile is determined to stop Hezbollah, which it sees as the top strategic threat on its borders, from using its role in the Syrian war to gain weapons and experience that could ultimately endanger Israel.
Strikes carried out by Israel inside Syria have destroyed weapons Israel says were destined for Hezbollah, and have killed Hezbollah commanders.