Hezbollah won’t widen war but will fight if needed, deputy head tells Al-Jazeera

By Thomson Reuters Jun 4, 2024 | 7:40 AM

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s Hezbollah is not seeking to widen its conflict with Israel but is ready to fight any war imposed on it, its deputy leader was quoted as saying on Tuesday, as hostilities across the Lebanese-Israeli border remained intense.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah group and Israel have been exchanging fire along the border strip for the past eight months in parallel with the Gaza war, raising concerns that an even broader conflict could break out between the heavily armed adversaries.

The violence, which has oscillated for months, escalated in recent days. Hezbollah announced on Tuesday it had launched a squadron of one-way attack drones at an Israeli military barracks for a second consecutive day, calling it a response to a deadly Israeli attack on Lebanon.

Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem told broadcaster Al-Jazeera that the group’s decision was not to “widen the war” but that it would fight one if it was imposed on it, according to a newsflash run by the broadcaster before the interview was screened.

The hostilities have been the worst between Israel and Hezbollah since they went to war in 2006, and tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border have been forced to flee their homes.

(Reporting by Maya Gebeily; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)