Lebanon’s Hezbollah says it is stronger than before as border clashes rage

Lebanon’s Hezbollah has warned its adversaries it was “thousands of times stronger” than before, as its fighters exchanged fire at the border with Israeli forces in violence fuelled by the war between Hamas and Israel. 

The US has cautioned Iran, a supporter of Hezbollah and Hamas, against involvement in the crisis.

Two aircraft carriers have been deployed by the US to prevent any state or non-state actor from escalating the conflict. 

Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine, addressing a large crowd of supporters, warned US President Joe Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and what he referred to as “malicious Europeans” to exercise caution.

“The response to the mistake you might make with our resistance will be resounding,” he said. 

For context: Hezbollah and Israel have engaged in frequent exchanges of fire since Hamas attacked Israel on 7 October. 

Israel responded with intense airstrikes on Gaza. 

On Wednesday, Hezbollah reported the death of two fighters in southern Lebanon, with a third fighter in critical condition. 

The group claimed responsibility for attacking five locations, including an Israeli barracks in Zar’it and a position across the border from Lebanon’s Ras Naqoura area. Guided missiles were used in several of these strikes.

An account from Gaza: ‘Before the war there was no work, no hope, no future for us – now you smell death in the street’

By Nicole Johnston, former Gaza based correspondent 

Looking after nine children is challenging at the best of times – imagine trying to do it in a war and in the besieged Gaza strip. 

Journalist Samy Zyara has seven children currently in Gaza, mostly teenagers. His wife and another two children, young adults, are stuck in Cairo.    

“It’s really miserable. It’s a catastrophe. There’s no electricity. No water. No bread,” he says. 

“You smell the death in the street… the blood in the street.

“The Israelis bombard everywhere.”

Israel has ordered more than one million people to move to southern Gaza if they want to stay alive. 

Samy Zyara and the kids have left the north and are in Khan Younis. He hasn’t been home since the war started and believes nowhere is safe. 

“They [Israel] are big liars,” he says.

“Every day there are injured people coming to the hospital. Bodies coming to the hospital.

“There are families who evacuated from the north and then died here in the south because of the Israeli bombardment.”

Samy visited a UN school where families are sheltering with 5,000 people packed inside.

“They have no water to drink or to shower. It’s a disaster,” he says. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Living through five Gaza wars in 15 years takes its toll and Mr Zyara says this is the hardest conflict he’s experienced. 

Israel closed Gaza’s borders 17 years ago, making it virtually impossible for Palestinians to leave the strip through the main Israeli Erez crossing. 

“The problem is not Hamas. The problem is the Israelis,” Mr Zyara explains. 

He says people have been left to fester inside Gaza’s closed borders and the young generation are frustrated. 

“[There’s] no work. No future. No hope. Life and death is the same,” Mr Zyara says. “This [war] is the natural result of the pressure Israel has put the Palestinians under.” 

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