Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary-general, threatened Israel in a Tuesday speech, saying that any violation of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem will lead to "regional war" and "Israel’s destruction."
Nasrallah’s speech marks the most high-profile statement from a Hezbollah official since the beginning of the conflict between Israel and Hamas two weeks ago. The terrorist leader said Hamas’s rocket attacks were a "historic step" in opposition to Israel that must be built on by regional forces. He also said they were a rejection of American peace plans for Israel and its neighbors.
"We won’t substitute Palestinians, but stand behind and next to them.... the ‘Deal of the Century’ is over," he said. "Jerusalem means a regional war. All the resistance movements cannot stand by and watch this happening if the holy city is in real, grave danger."
Nasrallah appeared in poor health and broke into multiple coughing fits during his 100-minute-long speech.
Hezbollah has made no major offensive against the Jewish state, though several skirmishes and rocket strikes near Israel’s northern border have been reported. Analysts, however, believe these were fired by Palestinian groups.
Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo warned in mid-May that Hezbollah could enter the conflict, posing a major security challenge due to the group’s precise and high-tech weapons systems.
Updated 5/26/21 at 1:50 p.m.