JERUSALEM: Israel warned Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Thursday against attacking the Jewish state after the leader of the Iranian-backed militant group threatened to strike its nuclear reactor.
The comments by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah marked the first time his group explicitly threatened to target the reactor in the southern Israeli town of Dimona.
Israel and Hezbollah battled to a stalemate during a month-long war in the summer of 2006. The war broke out after Hezbollah gunmen crossed into Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers. The ensuing conflict killed about 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis before ending in a UN-brokered cease-fire.
“If Nasrallah dares to fire at the Israel homefront or at its national infrastructure, all of Lebanon will be hit,” Yisrael Katz, Israel’s minister of intelligence, said in response to Nasrallah’s threats.
The Israel-Lebanon border has remained mostly quiet since the 2006 war but there have been sporadic outbursts of violence.
Meanwhile, Israel’s defense minister has offered to speak directly to Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, saying: “Let’s talk.”
Avigdor Lieberman proposed the “direct dialogue” in a video on the new website of COGAT, the Israeli defense body that liaises with Palestinians in the blockaded territory.
He said he is ready to communicate with Palestinians via video conferencing and to answer questions submitted on the website.
Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized power in 2007. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since then.
Heavy rains have caused flooding across the strip, overwhelming the territory’s beleaguered sewage system and forcing at least eight families to evacuate from their makeshift homes.