The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, received this Wednesday in Beirut senior officials of the Palestinian groups Hamas and the Islamic Jihad – militias that he supports in the war against Israel – to evaluate the conflict that has been unleashed since last October 7. The objective of the meeting was “to achieve a real victory for the resistance” in the Gaza Strip, the parties said in a statement after the meeting. The deputy head of Hamas, Saleh al-Arouri, and the head of Islamic Jihad, Ziad al-Nakhala, participated in the meeting.
The influential Shiite Hezbollah party – which has an armed wing – is one of the main supporters of Hamas along with Iran, which has forces proxies deployed in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. This alliance forms the so-called “Axis of Resistance”, a coalition of markedly anti-Israel and anti-American forces. “The meeting evaluated the positions adopted internationally and what the Resistance Axis should do,” said the statement, broadcast on ManarTV, a Hezbollah channel. The goal of the meeting was to find a way to stop “Israel’s treacherous and brutal aggression against our oppressed and steadfast people in Gaza and the West Bank,” the note added.
Nasrallah has yet to comment publicly on the war between Israel and Hamas, but senior party officials have repeatedly threatened to intervene in the war if Israel continues attacking Gaza. A party parliamentarian, Hassan Fadlallah, noted that despite Nasrallah’s silence, the Hezbollah leader actively monitors the conflict and the commandos in the “resistance camp,” in reference to southern Lebanon. There, on the border with Israel, clashes have occurred between Hezbollah and the Israeli Army since the start of the conflict three weeks ago.
As Israeli bombing in Gaza intensifies and the Israeli Army finalizes preparations for a ground incursion, Hezbollah and its allies have attacked northern Israel, raising fears of the opening of a new war front. The Lebanese group has launched everything from artillery fire to missiles with remote control systems. The exchange of fire has hit border towns on both sides and forced the deployment of Lebanese army units to reduce tensions. The number of Lebanese residents in the south of the country who have left the region for fear of attacks by the Israeli Army is unknown. For their part, the Israeli authorities have evacuated around twenty towns where more than 200,000 people lived. Since the start of the skirmishes, 42 Hezbollah militants have been killed by Israeli fire, two of them this Wednesday, the organization announced. In a letter, Nasrallah noted that the fighters who died “on the border with occupied Palestine are martyrs on the road to Jerusalem.” On the Israeli side, at least seven soldiers have been killed by attacks by the Lebanese group on the border.
On Monday, Israeli media blamed the delay in the Israeli ground offensive on clashes between the Army and the Lebanese militia on the northern border. A day earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Israeli troops deployed in that area to show his support. “We will paralyze them with a force that they cannot even imagine,” Netanyahu warned, faced with a possible escalation against Hezbollah in the area. “The consequences for them (Hizbullah) and the Lebanese state will be devastating,” he warned.