Hezbollah leader threatens Cyprus as tensions with Israel ramp up

The leader of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah threatened Wednesday to target the European island of Cyprus if war breaks out between Israel and Lebanon.

“Cyprus will be part of this war too” if it opens its airports and bases to Israeli forces, Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address that came just a day after Israel warned the powerful Iran-backed militant group that the prospect of “all-out war” was “getting very close.”

The comments by the Hezbollah leader are the first time he has threatened Cyprus, a member of the European Union that lies in the Mediterranean sea, roughly 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Lebanon, and which has held joint military exercises with Israel since 2014 and as recently as last year.

Nasrallah’s threat came as part of a fiery response to Israel’s warning that saw him boast of his group’s growing capabilities and threaten to “shake the pillars” of Israel if a war “were to be imposed on Lebanon.”

Tensions between Hezbollah and Israel have been rising since the October 7 Hamas attacks and the ensuing military campaign by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza. In recent weeks, the intensity of cross-border attacks between the two has increased, raising concerns over the prospect of a full-blown war.

Those prospects took a turn for the worse Tuesday, when Hezbollah flaunted a 9-minute video filmed by a drone showing civilian and military locations in and around one of Israel’s largest cities, Haifa. The video prompted Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz to warn of an “all-out war” in which “Hezbollah will be destroyed, and Lebanon severely beaten.”

On Wednesday, Nassrallah celebrated the video as evidence of its growing ability to gather intelligence.

“The enemy knows that no place in the entire (state) is safe from our missiles, and it won’t be arbitrary. Everything will be deliberately targeted,” Nasrallah said in his speech.

“We have long hours of footage of Haifa, of the outskirts of Haifa, and what comes after Haifa, and after after Haifa,” Nasrallah said, in an apparent reference to a Hezbollah slogan from the 2006 war with Israel, when the group’s rockets hit Haifa for the first time.

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