Hezbollah leader threatens to involve European island of Cyprus if Israel goes to war with Lebanon

Friday, June 21, 2024 - The leader of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, has threatened to target the European island of Cyprus if war breaks out between Israel and Lebanon.

“Cyprus will be part of this war too” if it opens its airports and bases to Israeli forces, Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address that came just a day after Israel warned the powerful Iran-backed militant group that the prospect of “all-out war” was “getting very close.”

Cyprus has held joint military exercises with Israel since 2014 and as recently as last year.

Cyprus is a member of the European Union and lies in the Mediterranean sea, roughly 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Lebanon.

The comments by the Hezbollah leader are the first time he has threatened Cyrus.

Tensions between Hezbollah and Israel have been rising since the October 7 Hamas attacks and the ensuing military campaign by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza. In recent weeks, the intensity of cross-border attacks between the two has increased, raising concerns over the prospect of a full-blown war.

Things took a turn for the worse on Tuesday, when Hezbollah showed off a 9-minute video filmed by a drone showing civilian and military locations in and around one of Israel’s largest cities, Haifa. The video prompted Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz to warn of an “all-out war” in which “Hezbollah will be destroyed, and Lebanon severely beaten.”

On Wednesday, Nassrallah celebrated the video as evidence of its growing ability to gather intelligence.

“The enemy knows that no place in the entire (state) is safe from our missiles, and it won’t be arbitrary. Everything will be deliberately targeted,” Nasrallah said in his speech.

“We have long hours of footage of Haifa, of the outskirts of Haifa, and what comes after Haifa, and after after Haifa,” Nasrallah said, in an apparent reference to a Hezbollah slogan from the 2006 war with Israel, when the group’s rockets hit Haifa for the first time.

In response to the threat by Nasrallah, Cyprus’ President Nikos Christodoulides said the island was in “no way involved in the war conflicts.”

“The Republic of Cyprus is not part of the problem. The Republic of Cyprus is part of the solution,” Christodoulides said. “And our role in this, as demonstrated, for example, through the humanitarian corridor, is recognized not only by the Arab world but by the international community as a whole.”

Nasrallah also threatened to “shake the pillars” of Israel if a war “were to be imposed on Lebanon.”

Parts of the Hezbollah drone footage, filmed in the daytime, claimed to show Krayot, a cluster of “highly populated” residential cities north of the Israeli city of Haifa and 28 km (17 miles) south of the Lebanese border, along with malls and high rises.

Other parts showed a military complex near Haifa belonging to Israeli weapons manufacturer Rafael – including Iron Dome batteries, missile storage sites and radar sites – and military boats, ships and oil storage depots in the port of Haifa.

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