Hassan Nasrallah said security in the Red Sea and regional countries hinges on putting an end to Israel’s war on Gaza.
The leader of the Lebanese group Hezbollah has said United States actions in the Red Sea will harm the security of all shipping as the area has now become a conflict zone.
“The US should realise that the security of the Red Sea, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen are all hinged on one single thing: putting an end to the war in Gaza,” Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech on Sunday.
“Rather than providing a remedy to the symptoms, they should treat the cause,” he added.
Nasrallah was referring to a joint operation by US and United Kingdom air forces that launched a series of strikes against Yemen on Friday and Saturday, targeted at Houthi rebels who say they have been attacking ships linked to Israel during the war on Gaza.
The strikes, which the US said targeted Houthi facilities, have further stoked fears of a regional spillover of the war in Gaza. The Houthis have also promised to retaliate.
The Houthi assaults against international shipping have disrupted global commerce and raised costs, which influenced Western countries to intervene.
The rebels say their actions are in response to Israel’s war and have pledged to continue as long as bombardment of the Gaza Strip continues.
Both the Houthis and Hezbollah are backed by Iran and also form part of the so-called “axis of resistance” to Israel.
On Sunday, Nasrallah said the US was wrong if it thought the Houthis would stop confronting Israel in the Red Sea.
“The more dangerous thing is what the Americans did in the Red Sea will harm the security of all maritime navigation, even the ships that are not going to Palestine, even the ships which are not Israeli, even the ships that have nothing to do with the matter,” he said, “because the sea has become a theatre of fighting, missiles, drones and warships.”
The Lebanon-based group has so far refrained from entering the war. It has, however, kept high pressure on Israel by conducting nearly daily attacks along its southern border with its neighbour.
While the exchanges of fire from both sides have largely remained confined to the border area, the risk of a major escalation remains.
The first week of January saw tensions reaching new heights over such a risk after a senior Hamas leader was killed in a suburb of Beirut in a targeted attack widely attributed to Israel. This was followed by the killing of at least three other Hezbollah members, including a senior commander.
To add to the military pressure, the continued exchanges of fire have forced tens of thousands on both sides of the border to evacuate. More than 96,000 Israelis are now living in temporary accommodation, a condition that Hezbollah says it plays in its favour.
“Our front is inflicting losses on the enemy in putting pressure on the displaced whose voices have grown louder,” Nasrallah said.
“This is a key strategy for Hezbollah,” said Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Ebel el-Saqi, in south Lebanon. “All those Israelis who have had to leave their homes in the north and can’t come back. [Nasrallah] wants them to rise up and start putting pressure on the Israeli government.”
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