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Last week, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah reiterated that his organization would not stand idly by if Tel Aviv proceeded with its plans to ‘apply sovereignty’ to large swathes of Palestinian territory, and warned that Hezbollah was ready to “do anything to block and prevent the annexation plan.”
Gen. Kenneth ‘Frank’ McKenzie, the head of US Central Command – the Pentagon command responsible for the Middle East, has warned Lebanese political and militant group Hezbollah against attacking Israel.
“I think it would be a great mistake for Hezbollah to try to carry out operations against Israel. I can’t see that having a good ending,” McKenzie warned, speaking to reporters in Lebanon during a regional tour.
Suggesting that Hezbollah “remains a problem” for Lebanon and the region, McKenzie emphasized that the US “recognize[s] that it’s there. We’d be – I’d be blind to say we don’t see it there.”
Gen. McKenzie’s stopover in Lebanon was part of a trip which included stops in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, and US outposts in Syria. It was met with protests in Beirut, with some demonstrators waving Hezbollah flags and accusing the US of meddling in Lebanon’s internal affairs.
Last week, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah accused Washington of acting like a “colonist” and alleged that US Ambassador Dorothy Shea was “openly” meddling in the country and pushing it “toward infighting, sedition and civil strife.”
Hezbollah and the Israeli military have clashed repeatedly since the group’s founding in the mid-1980, fighting in southern Lebanon between 1985 and 2000, and again during the 2006 Lebanon War, when Israeli forces invaded southern Lebanon after the Hezbollah kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers following a border conflict. That 34-day war claimed the lives of 121 Israeli troops and an estimated 250 Hezbollah militiamen, as well as over 1,100 Lebanese civilians. Both sides claimed victory, with the war stopped following intervention by the UN. The Israeli military and Hezbollah have also engaged in fighting in neighbouring Syria, with the Lebanese militia group deploying to the war-torn country to combat Sunni Islamist militants, while Israel has conducted hundreds of bombing raids on the country to stop an alleged Iranian entrenchment. Tel Aviv has also been accused of aiding militants fighting the Assad government and its Hezbollah allies.
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