Israel put on notice Iran may ‘attack directly’

During Beirut speech, Hezbollah leader warns Tel Aviv against continued attacks on Syria 

If Israel continues attacking the Iranian presence in Syria, Tehran may retaliate directly, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday. He also warned Tel Aviv that the Shia militia will be on high alert for the upcoming Israeli military exercises near Lebanon.

“In the event of the continuation of the Israeli aggression against the Iranian presence in the region,” Iran may “attack Israel directly,” Nasrallah said during a video address at an event in Beirut. This was a reference to the frequent Israeli missile strikes on what the government in Tel Aviv says are Iranian targets inside Syria – most recently on Wednesday.

By way of example, Nasrallah brought up the March missile strike against a facility in Erbil, a city in northern Iraq, which Tehran said was used by Israel to plan and execute attacks on Iran.

The cleric also warned Israel that “any mistake, stupidity or aggressive act” during the upcoming maneuvers on the border of Lebanon would receive a “quick and direct” response.

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reviews a military parade in Tehran, Iran, April 18, 2022 © AP / Iranian Presidency Office
Iran issues military warning to Israel

“When the Israeli maneuvers begin, whether before the elections in Lebanon or afterward, we will be at the highest levels of alertness and readiness,” said Nasrallah. Parliamentary elections in Lebanon are scheduled for May 15. “Your major maneuvers do not frighten us and do not prevent us from establishing the deterrence equations that exist in Lebanon,” he added. 

Hezbollah has been quietly rehearsing for a number of scenarios over the past several weeks, as is prepared for any action by the “Israeli enemy,” according to Nasrallah.

As evidence that Israel is “fragile and weak,” Nasrallah brought up the series of recent attacks on civilians in Beersheba, Bnei Brak, Hadera and Tel Aviv, calling them “very specific and important” and “among the most dangerous things the enemy is facing.”

These operations show Israel’s inability to discover “lone wolf” Muslim attackers and “strongly shook the confidence of the Zionists in their safety and their security services,” said Nasrallah.

The Shia movement’s leader spoke on the occasion of Quds Day, the Shia tradition initiated by Iran in 1979 to express opposition to Israel’s control of Jerusalem since 1968. It takes place on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.