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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Hezbollah threatens Israel, stoking spreading war fears

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BEIRUT – Hezbollah said none of Israel would be spared in a war, after Israel said it had approved plans for a Lebanon offensive, stoking fears of the Gaza conflict spreading.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said “no place” in Israel would “be spared our rockets,” in a televised address broadcast amid spiraling tensions across the Israel-Lebanon border.

Nasrallah — whose powerful Iran-backed group has exchanged near-daily fire with Israel since its ally Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack — also threatened the nearby island nation of Cyprus if it opened its airports or bases to Israel “to target Lebanon.”

The Mediterranean island is home to two British military bases including an airbase, but they are in sovereign British territory and not controlled by the Cypriot government.

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides denied his country’s involvement in the war and said it was “part of the solution,” pointing to its role in a maritime humanitarian corridor to Gaza “recognized by the entire international community.”

Meanwhile, the war between Israel and Hamas raged in Gaza, with Israeli air strikes and clashes between troops and Palestinian militants.

Witnesses and the civil defense agency in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip reported an Israeli bombardment in western Rafah, where medics said drone strikes and shelling killed at least seven people.

And medics at the European hospital in Khan Yunis told AFP 10 bodies were brought to the facility after an Israeli air strike killed a group of people on Salah al-Din road, east of Rafah city, as they waited for aid trucks to arrive.

Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian armed group that has fought alongside Hamas, said its militants were battling troops amid Israeli shelling of western Rafah.

The war has spilled across the region, drawing in a number of Iran-backed groups saying they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

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