‘If Hezbollah drags us into war, Lebanon will pay its price’: Israel's President | World News - Hindustan Times

‘If Hezbollah drags us into war, Lebanon will pay its price’: Israel President's warning

Oct 24, 2023 02:32 PM IST

Last week, Hezbollah said that it is “fully prepared” to join Hamas in the war with Israel “when the time is right”.

As Lebanon's Hezbollah group has been exchanging fire with Israel across the Gaza border for the past two weeks amid the ongoing conflict, Israel's President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday warned that if the Iran-backed group drags them into war then “Lebanon would pay the price”.

Israel's President Isaac Herzog(REUTERS)
Israel's President Isaac Herzog(REUTERS)

In his joint address with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron - who is on a visit to Israel to show solidarity, Herzog said that “Hezbollah is playing with fire".

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“I think that the Iranian empire of evil is backing them and operates day in and day out to destabilise the Middle East and the region. I want to make it clear - we are not looking for a confrontation on our northern border with anyone else. We are focused on destroying Hamas' infrastructure and bringing our citizens back home,” the Israeli President said.

He added, “But if Hezbollah will drag us into war, it should be clear that Lebanon will pay the price…Lebanon cannot be a sovereign member of the international community, its citizens carry a Lebanese passport, but when it comes to Israel they are not responsible….By international law, we have the full right to defend ourselves.”

Hezbollah was founded by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in 1982. The group has been supporting other Iranian-backed groups across the Middle East and has trained armed groups in Iraq.

Last week, Hezbollah said that it is “fully prepared” to join Hamas in the war with Israel “when the time is right”.

Reacting to this, the Israeli military on Sunday said that the Iran-backed group is “playing a very dangerous game” and dragging Lebanon into the war with Hamas. “Hezbollah is escalating the situation…We are seeing more and more attacks every day…Is the Lebanese State really willing to jeopardise what is left of Lebanese prosperity and Lebanese sovereignty for the sake of terrorists in Gaza? For the ISIS of Gaza? That's a question that the Lebanese authorities need to ask themselves," Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said in a video.

The war between Israel and the Hamas militant group entered its 18th day on Tuesday, with over 6,000 people being killed on both sides. Israel has made its intention clear to step up the attacks and for a ground invasion in Gaza.

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