The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah warned Israel to stop fighting Hamas, threatening more attacks against Israeli civilians.
"I tell Israel: Do not go any further," said Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday in his first speech since Hamas's Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel. "Many civilians have already died. I promise you: a civilian for a civilian."
Nasrallah also threatened the United States, hinting his Iran-backed group was ready to confront U.S. warships in the Mediterranean and threaten the lives of U.S. troops.
"You, the Americans, can stop the aggression against Gaza because it is your aggression. Whoever wants to prevent a regional war, and I am talking to the Americans, must quickly halt the aggression on Gaza," Nasrallah said.
"You, the Americans, know very well that if war breaks out in the region, your fleets will be of no use, nor will fighting from the air be of any benefit, and the one who will pay the price will be ... your interests, your soldiers and your fleets," he said.
"Remember your defeats in Lebanon and Iraq, and your humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan," Nasrallah said, likely referencing the 1983 terrorist bombing of a military barracks in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. troops. "Those who defeated you in Lebanon in the 1980s are still alive and their children and grandchildren are ready to face you."
Since the Gaza war erupted, Hezbollah, a formidable military force backed by Iran, has been engaging Israeli forces along the Lebanon-Israel border in the deadliest escalation since it fought a war with Israel in 2006.
Nasrallah said Hezbollah had been escalating day by day at the Lebanese front, forcing Israel to keep forces near its northern frontier instead of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to the southwest.
How that front develops would depend on the course of events in Gaza, and Israeli actions in Lebanon, he said.
(Reporting by Laila Bassam, Tom Perry and Riham al Koussa; writing by Nadine Awadalla; editing by Michael Georgy, Angus MacSwan, Tomasz Janowski, and Mark Heinrich)