The leaders of terror organizations on Israel’s northern and southern borders both warned Israelis not to get too comfortable despite a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas: violations at al-Aqsa could trigger regional war, they said in separate speeches.
“We are ready for the great battle if the enemy commits a great folly in Jerusalem and the holy sites,” Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in Gaza, said on Wednesday. “We wanted to deliver a message to the occupation and the world that we do not make threats haphazardly, so that the world knows that al-Aqsa has men who protect it.”
Meanwhile, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah – leader of Lebanon-based Hezbollah – warned that any “violation of Jerusalem” would result in a regional war – and “Israel’s destruction.”
“We won’t substitute Palestinians, but stand behind and next to them,” a seemingly ill and frail Nasrallah said on Tuesday from an undisclosed location. “Don’t misjudge Lebanon, as you did with Gaza, knowing that our situation is different.”
Nasrallah’s speech may have had the opposite effect than what the terror leader wanted. Instead of appearing threatening, Nasrallah broke into coughs and explained he hadn’t appeared on video prior to this because he had been sick. During the conflict with Gaza, several rockets were fired from Lebanon at Israel but were likely fired by Palestinian factions. It is unclear whether Hezbollah approved of the launches, however.
Nasrallah added that the “Sword of Jerusalem” operation – which Israelis called Operation Guardian of the Walls – ruined Israel’s normalization efforts in the region.
During his rally in Gaza, Sinwar held a child dressed in terrorist garb holding a rifle. According to the Times of Israel, the child’s father – a member of Hamas’ military wing – was killed during the recent war.
Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, came out of hiding for a photo op. Watch him proudly display a child holding a firearm.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 26, 2021
Does this look like an organization that wants peace? pic.twitter.com/omYzV04yR3
“What has happened is but a drill for what will come if Israel violates the al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said. “The occupation must know – al-Aqsa has men who will defend it.”
“The resistance has the ability to fire hundreds of missiles with a range of 100 to 200 kilometers per minute at the Zionist enemy,” Sinwar said.
He also vowed that Hamas wouldn’t touch international aid that comes in to help rebuild Gaza since the organization has “sufficient financial resources… a large part of which are from Iran, and another part comes from Arab and Muslim donors and free people of the world who stand in solidarity with our people and their rights.”
Sinwar said Hamas opted not to launch “300 missiles in one go” at Israel even though it could have. He also claimed that the IDF only managed to destroy 5% of the “Metro” – the network of tunnels in Gaza, which Israel said it heavily targeted and severely damaged.
“We have more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) of tunnels in the Gaza Strip, and the damage is no more than 5%,” he said.
The 11-day confrontation between Hamas in Gaza and Israel was largely triggered by violent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians on the Temple Mount and the Sheikh Jarrah property dispute.
Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.