‘Any Israeli act of aggression will ignite new version of 2006 July war’ warns Hezbollah

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Hezbollah forces launch a rocket

THE HEZBOLLAH resistance movement has warned that any Israeli act of aggression against Lebanon will ignite an advanced version of the 33-day war fought back in the summer of 2006, when the occupying regime suffered a humiliating defeat.

‘The Zionist enemy continues to threaten us with military aggression, and we respond by means of steadfastness, resistance, and retaliatory strikes,’ Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem told the sixth International Conference for the Union of Resistance Scholars in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Monday.

‘We, hereby, declare that if they commit a foolish act and attack our territories, there would then be a new version of the 2006 July war,’ he said.

‘The Zionist regime is an aggressive and usurping entity that has been set up in the region in order to bring it under complete control and destroy it later on.

‘The United States wants to be in charge of our region, so it can assert its sway and influence.’

Sheikh Qassem pointed out that Israel could not have managed to continue its relentless ground and aerial strikes against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip without US military and intelligence support, and he denounced the ongoing atrocities as pre-planned and deliberately meant to decimate the entire population in the coastal area.

Sheikh Qassem also cast doubts on Western calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, describing them as ‘theatrical and deceitful’.

For his part, Osama Hamdan, a senior representative of Hamas in Lebanon, stated that Arab and Muslim nations are duty-bound to join forces and frustrate the Israeli regime’s policy of intentionally starving Palestinians in Gaza.

‘Our people have withstood the ongoing Israeli aggression against Gaza for the last 150 days through unwavering resilience and unshakeable determination.

‘Gaza-based resistance factions conducted Operation al-Aqsa Storm at the time when the occupying regime was about to liquidate the Palestinian cause and resistance front.

‘It is the duty of Arabs and Muslims worldwide to take the initiative and foil Israel’s conspiracy of starvation. The countries neighbouring the Gaza Strip must not stand idly by, and should take concrete measures, especially for Gazans in the north.’

Hamdan also stressed that Palestinian resistance forces will continue their armed struggle against Israel during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Mohammad al-Hindi, deputy secretary general of the Islamic Jihad resistance movement, also noted that enemies are trying to annihilate the Palestinian cause and the resistance front through all-out blockades and successive wars.

‘The United States wants to fill the void in the region by means of the Zionist enemy, because it serves the West’s interests.

‘The Israeli regime has failed to crush the resistance front, and has not succeeded in releasing any of its captives,’ he said.

Hindi underscored that Washington is deeply concerned about the spillover of the Gaza conflict, and condemned the US airdrops of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

‘It is ironic that the US, which is supplying the Israeli enemy with various armaments, is the party dropping food bundles for Gazans. That is chicken feed compared to what they need,’ he said.

Continuing his speech to the Beirut conference on Monday, Osama Hamdan, who is Hezbollah’s senior representative in Lebanon, declared that the Palestinian resistance movement will not surrender to political pressure in ceasefire talks with the Israeli regime, which are currently underway in the Egyptian capital of Cairo over a truce agreement to end the five months of Israel’s US-backed war.

Hamdad stressed that Tel Aviv and Washington ‘will not be able to compensate for their loss in the ongoing war on the besieged Gaza Strip through trickery and machinations.’

Israel has reportedly imposed ‘many obstacles’ on the path to reaching a truce deal, with the most contentious issue in the talks being the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from Gaza, the return of displaced Palestinians to the northern parts of the territory, and the lifting of the crippling siege on the territory.

Hamdan said the Palestinian resistance is committed to its principles and warned Israel and the United States that Hamas would not yield to their political deception and pressure.

‘With the continued steadfastness and resistance in the field, we assure the Zionists and their American partner that what is not done in the field will not be fulfilled by political machinations,’ Hamdan said.

‘No matter what forms of deception and pressure are employed, the resistance will remain faithful to its sacrifices and adhere to the principles of its people and nation.’

He also stressed: ‘Any flexibility shown by the Palestinian resistance in negotiations out of concern for the blood of the Palestinian people and with the aim of putting an end to their great pain and sacrifices will be commensurate with its complete readiness to defend our people.’

The Palestinian resistance has succeeded in thwarting the US administration’s plans to ‘liquidate the Palestinian issue,’ he said, adding: ‘The resistance, through its actions and sacrifices in the battlefield and support in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Iran, has formed a solid structure to confront the Zionist entity.’

Pointing to Israel’s inhuman siege on Gaza, Hamdan called on the Arab and Islamic nations to take the initiative in breaking the ‘starvation conspiracy’ against the besieged Palestinian territory and its north, in particular.

The top Hamas official also underlined the need for sustainable support of efforts aimed at ending the suffering of the people of Gaza, and urged the Arab and Muslim world to ‘impose a siege on Israel’.

It is the Muslim nations’ duty to side with the Palestinian people and the resistance in their fight against the Israeli occupation, he said.

Meanwhile on Sunday, media reports announced that representatives from the United States and Qatar had arrived in Cairo for mediation in the indirect talks between Hamas and Israel.

The Egyptian media cited an unnamed Hamas official as saying that if the Israeli regime agrees to meet the Palestinian resistance movement’s demands, including the occupying entity’s military withdrawal from Gaza, and stepped-up humanitarian aid, the measure will ‘pave the way for an agreement within the next 24-48 hours.’

Israel launched its genocidal war on Gaza on October 7th after Hamas-led Palestinian resistance groups waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm operation against the occupying entity in response to its intensified violence against the Palestinians.

Since the start of the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has killed at least 30,534 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured more than 71,920 others.

The Tel Aviv regime has also imposed a ‘complete siege’ on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million people living there.

A senior Iranian diplomat says Tehran is deeply concerned about Israel’s plots to deliberately target humanitarian infrastructure to destroy the resilience of the people of Palestine in the face of the Israeli regime’s occupation.

Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, Ali Bahreini, made the remark while addressing the 55th session of the Human Rights Council on Monday.

He condemned the killing of 150 United Nations staff members since the beginning of Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza in October and said the world has not witnessed such a dire human rights situation for the past eight decades since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The Iranian diplomat added that the Israeli occupation forces are deliberately attacking hospitals and other facilities for the sick and wounded, which has resulted in the collapse of the medical system in Gaza.

The world has been shocked by the extent of the deliberate targeting of hospitals and medical and humanitarian staff in the Gaza Strip, he emphasised.

Bahreini noted that the Israeli occupation forces have levelled accusations against some humanitarian agencies in Gaza and disrupted their activities, thus making the living conditions more difficult for the Palestinian people and forcing them to leave their homes.

The Iranian ambassador called for the full implementation of an interim ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which urges Israel to stop its genocide in Gaza.

In its interim ruling in January, the ICJ ordered Israel to take all measures within its power to stop genocidal acts in Gaza and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in the besieged Strip.

Meanwhile, UN human rights chief Volker Turk has warned that the war in Gaza is a ‘powder keg’ that could ignite a wider conflict, with serious repercussions for the Middle East and beyond.

In an address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, Turk said he was deeply concerned that the war – now into its 150th day – had already generated dangerous spillover in neighbouring countries.

‘Any spark could lead to a much broader conflagration,’ Turk warned. ‘This would have implications for every country in the Middle East, and many beyond it.’

The UN high commissioner for human rights said it is ‘imperative to do everything possible to avoid’ a wider escalation, and he specifically cited the military escalation between Israel and Hezbollah and other armed groups in Lebanon, calling them ‘extremely worrying’.

Since October 8th, cross-border exchanges of fire between the Israeli army and Hezbollah as a direct result of the Gaza war have killed dozens of people, displaced tens of thousands and destroyed vital infrastructure.

In the most recent of these near-daily attacks, Israel reportedly hit three towns in southern Lebanon within 24 hours in an apparent response to a Hezbollah attack on a community in northern Israel that killed at least one person and wounded several others.

Since November, Yemen’s Houthi rebels have also been targeting ships on the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden affiliated with Israel in protest against the war on Gaza

The attacks have disrupted international trade on the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

The US, Israel’s top ally, and the UK have led reprisal strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.

Turk said the Houthi attacks had not only disrupted global maritime trade but had also driven up the price of goods, which has had a significant impact on developing countries.

‘There is a serious risk of the conflict extending to Yemen itself, with potentially severe harm to Yemen’s people, already suffering from the humanitarian crisis generated by a decade of war.’