Hezbollah says displaced Israeli northerners will not return home if war persists |


The head of powerful Lebanese armed group Hezbollah said on Monday that residents of northern Israel would not be able to return home for the start of the next school year if their government pressed on with its offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah has been exchanging fire with the Israeli military across Lebanon’s southern border in parallel with the Gaza war. The armed group has said it is launching rockets at Israel both to support its ally, Palestinian armed group Hamas, and to deter Israel from launching an attack on Lebanon.

In a televised address on Monday, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah repeated that his group would keep fighting as long as Israel continued its assault of Gaza.

“The link between the supportive Lebanese front and Gaza is definitive, final and conclusive,” he said. “No one will be able to de-link them.”

The fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border and prompted fears of a bigger war between the heavily-armed adversaries.

Israel has said it wants to secure the north for residents to return home, either through a mediated diplomatic agreement or a military attack against Lebanon.

Families displaced from northern Israel had been hoping to return home by September 1 for the start of the academic school year.

Nasrallah addressed the displaced on Monday, saying: “if you want to solve the issue, go to your government and tell them to stop the war on Gaza.”

Efforts by Egypt and Qatar to secure a ceasefire in Gaza faltered last week, after Israel effectively spurned a plan from international mediators.

Israeli forces on Monday pushed deep into the ruins of Gaza’s northern edge to recapture an area where they claimed to have dismantled Hamas months ago, while in the south tanks and troops pushed across a highway into Rafah.

The Israeli military also continued strikes on Lebanon over the weekend and on Monday, security sources said.

Hezbollah has responded with rocket fire, and Nasrallah said his group was “continuing to develop its operations in quantity and quality.”

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