Tehran-backed militants could open a new front in Israel’s war against Hamas if the blockade of Gaza and attacks on civilians there continue, Iran’s Foreign Minister said, signaling a potential expansion of the conflict ahead of a meeting with Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
(Bloomberg) — Tehran-backed militants could open a new front in Israel’s war against Hamas if the blockade of Gaza and attacks on civilians there continue, Iran’s Foreign Minister said, signaling a potential expansion of the conflict ahead of a meeting with Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
“Of course in the case of the continuation of war crimes and the humanitarian blockade of Gaza and Palestine every possibility and decision by the other currents of the resistance is possible,” Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in Beirut when asked about the possibility of a second front.
He cited the killing of civilians and cutting off of electricity in Gaza as examples of alleged war crimes.
Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah later met with the visiting Iranian minister on Friday. The two discussed “everyone’s responsibilities and the positions that need to be taken with regards to these historical events and developments,” according to a Hezbollah statement.
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Hezbollah, one of the Middle East’s most powerful militias, has exchanged fire with Israeli troops on the border with Lebanon over the past few days but the situation hasn’t escalated into sustained fighting.
Read more: Why Hezbollah Is a Wild Card in New Mideast Fighting: QuickTake
The Lebanese group fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006 and its battle-hardened fighters have since seen extensive combat in Syria, where they fought on the side of President Bashar al-Assad. It has an arsenal of missiles that can reach deep into Israel.
Israel is preparing for an expected ground offensive in Gaza after last weekend’s attacks by the Palestinian group, in which Iran has repeatedly denied involvement. Israel has vowed to “wipe out” Hamas after the assault, which killed more than 1,200 people, many of them civilians.
Amirabdollahian vowed to continue Iran’s “political international and media support of the Palestinian resistance.”
Iran describes the network of armed anti-Israel groups that it supports across the region, including Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, as the “axis of resistance” against Israeli occupation.
“The continuation of the war crimes against Palestine and Gaza will definitely be met with reactions in other axes in the region,” Amirabdollahian said.
–With assistance from Dana Khraiche.
(Updates with meeting with Hezbollah leader starting in first paragraph.)
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