Hezbollah deputy says MidEast conflict could expand to complete confrontation: Report

Lebanese militia Hezbollah will step up attacks on bordering Israeli areas and US military sites in the Middle East up to a “complete confrontation” if Israel continues its offensive in the Gaza Strip, Naim Qassem, the group’s deputy secretary general, said in an interview with NBC News.

“Hezbollah participates [in the Israel-Hamas conflict] for the sake of lowering the pressure on Gaza,” Qassem said. However, he threatened to escalate cross-border attacks if Israel continued its offensive on Gaza, NBC reported.

“If [Israel and US] continue in their aggression in this way and escalate this aggression and leave a negative impact that is larger than what is currently happening now, it will increase the situation and will lead to a complete confrontation,” he said.

Hezbollah, a long-time ally of Palestinian militant group Hamas, has been escalating its rhetoric against Israel since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict on October 7. The Lebanese militia has also been launching cross-border attacks against Israeli targets.

Qassem stated that the intensified attacks on Gaza were “a clear message that if you expand there will be serious consequences.”

Hezbollah’s deputy chief said the “Axis of Resistance” – the label of a group of Iran-backed proxy militias across the region, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and militias in Iraq and Syria – believes that the US is the “mastermind” of the Israel-Hamas conflict. “So, they strike the US under the principle of sending a message to stop. Just as Israel should stop,” he said.

“How does America and the rest of the world have the right to stand on the side of Israel that kills civilians and children and destroys homes while we don’t have the right to support our people and our loved ones in Palestine and the region?” he added.

Qassem reportedly said Hezbollah’s combat stance was mainly one of deterrence. “What we do now is what we need to be doing, and when we need to do more than that we will,” he added.

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