Nasrallah Warns of Lebanon’s Vulnerability if Arouri Killing Goes Unanswered

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah warned that his movement “cannot accept” the alleged Israeli assassination of deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri. He stressed that remaining silent would cause more harm than “any risks that may come from responding, in a speech on Friday afternoon. “I tell you with certainty that this will not go without a response or punishment,” said Nasrallah, adding that he would not say the phrase “in the appropriate time and place” and that instead the forces on the ground would be the ones to decide the response. Nasrallah insisted that Hezbollah only began attacking Israel in order to split the IDF’s attention and relieve pressure on the factions in Gaza. “The battle taking place in southern Lebanon has stabilized the balance of deterrence,” said Nasrallah. The Hezbollah leader also hinted towards territorial disputes Lebanon has with Israel at several points along the border, including in the Shebaa Farms area where Hezbollah set up tents in Israeli territory earlier this year, saying “We are facing a real opportunity to liberate every inch of our Lebanese land and prevent the enemy from violating our borders and airspace.” Nasrallah addressed Israelis evacuated from northern Israel, saying that if they want to return home they should demand the war in Gaza end. He also believes the US is scared of the war expanding and has no interest in this happening. Arouri was killed in a drone strike blamed on Israel on Tuesday evening targeting an office belonging to Hamas in Mushrifiyah in the southern suburbs of Lebanon’s capital. Azzam al-Aqra and Samir Fendi, two commanders in Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, were killed in the strike as well, along with three other Hamas members. The speech on Friday was officially presented as a memorial for Muhammad Hassan Yaghi, Nasrallah’s executive assistant, who recently died after “a long illness.”