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Despite tensions, Hezbollah says all-out war with Israel 'unlikely' for now Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Despite tensions, Hezbollah says all-out war with Israel 'unlikely' for now

Qassem said that war with Israel is not on the cards [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 July, 2020

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Tensions between Israel and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah have been mounting for weeks.
Hezbollah has dismissed rumours that all-out war with Israel is on the cards, despite mounting tensions between the two sides on the Lebanese border over the killing of a Lebanese fighter in Syria.

The Lebanese militant group's deputy leader, Sheikh Naim Qassem, said in an interview with Al-Mayadeen TV that the group is unlikely to go to war with Israel, despite heightened rhetoric.

"The atmosphere does not indicate a war... It's unlikely, the atmosphere of war in the next few months," said Qassem.

"There is no change of rules of engagement and the deterrent equation with Israel exists and we are not planning to change it."

Israel has bolstered its forces on the Lebanon border after an airstrike in Syria last week killed a Hezbollah fighter, sparking concerns in the country of potential retaliation.

Qassem did not rule out a response to the killing, but said he would not reveal "direct details" of the plan.

On Sunday, an Israeli military spokesperson said that one of its drones crashed inside Lebanon while conducting surveilance activities.

Israel has ramped up airstrikes inside Syria, where Hezbollah and its ally Iran are supporting Bashar Al-Assad's regime in a brutal war against the opposition.

Israel is concerned that Iran could use Syria as a base to plan and carry out attacks against it.

In 2019, an Israeli strike in Syria killed two Hezbollah fighters and led to the movement's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, threatening retaliation the next time its members were killed.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a bloody and destructive war in 2006, which resulted in hundreds of Lebanese civilian deaths and with both sides claiming victory.

Since then, Hezbollah and Israel have avoided a direct confrontation, particularly as the Lebanese movement remains bogged down in the Syria war.

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