Celebratory gunshots rang out over Beirut as thousands packed into a square in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital on Friday to watch a televised speech by Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the militant Lebanese Hezbollah group.
Nasrallah taunted Israel in his remarks, which were broadcast via a video-link. It was his first address to supporters since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, sparked by the Palestinian militants’ deadly Oct. 7 incursion into southern Israel.
Nasrallah said his militia is not deterred by U.S. warnings to stay out of the Israel-Hamas war.
Hassan Nasrallah referred to U.S. military deployments in the region, saying “your fleets in the Mediterranean ... will not scare us.” He said that Hezbollah is prepared for all options.
The Hezbollah leader said that his powerful militia is engaged in unprecedented cross-border fighting with Israel and threatened escalation.
In a widely anticipated speech, Hassan Nasrallah stopped short of announcing that Hezbollah is fully engaging in the Israel-Hamas war.
Nasrallah said in a televised speech that the fighting on the Lebanon-Israel border would “not be limited” to the scale seen until now.
In his lengthy remarks, Nasrallah praised the Hamas attack four weeks ago in which the militants attacked farming villages, towns and military posts in southern Israel. More than 1,400 people were killed in Israel in the attack.
“This great, large-scale operation was purely the result of Palestinian planning and implementation,” Nasrallah said, suggesting his militia had no part in the attack. “The great secrecy made this operation greatly successful.”
He also said that Oct. 7 had come as “proof that Israel is weaker than a spider’s web” and that one month into the war, it allegedly “has not been able to make any achievement.”