The group wanted to show any Israeli air strike would be responded to in "the appropriate and proportional way," says leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah.

An image grab from an Iran Press video on August 7, 2021, shows the head of Lebanon's Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah, delivering a televised speech from an undisclosed location. Iran Press /
An image grab from an Iran Press video on August 7, 2021, shows the head of Lebanon's Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah, delivering a televised speech from an undisclosed location. Iran Press / (AFP)

The leader of Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah has said that his group had chosen to respond to Israeli air strikes on open land, but could escalate its actions in the future.

No strikes were reported on Saturday, and no casualties have been reported thus far.

On Friday, Hezbollah fired rockets towards Israeli forces, drawing retaliatory fire from Israel into south Lebanon. Both sides targeted open land, indicating that they did not wish to escalate the salvos further.

READ MORE: Israel, Lebanon's Hezbollah exchange cross-border fire as tensions flare

In a speech commemorating the end of the 2006 war with Israel, Nasrallah said this week's Israeli air strikes were a "dangerous development" that had not been seen in the last 15 years.

He said the group wanted to show any Israeli air strike would be responded to in "the appropriate and proportional way".

"We chose yesterday open land in the Shebaa Farms area to send a message, and to take a step, and we can later escalate by another step," Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah said that Hezbollah's options included a response on any open land in "northern occupied Palestine," Galilee, or the occupied Golan Heights.

The exchanges began on Wednesday with a rocket strike on Israel from Lebanon for which no group claimed responsibility. That attack, on which Hezbollah has not commented, drew retaliatory Israeli artillery and air strikes.

Regional tensions are running high following an alleged Iranian attack on an Israeli-managed oil tanker in the Gulf last week in which two crew members were killed. Tehran denies involvement.

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Beirut port explosion investigator biased: Nasrallah

Nasrallah said in a speech on Saturday that the investigator of the Beirut port blast was politically biased.

On Thursday, Beirut marked the one year anniversary of the blast that flattened large swathes of the city and killed more than 200 people. A judge, Tarek Bittar, is leading the probe into what happened.

"I am formally telling the family of the martyrs that this judicial investigator is playing politics, this is a politicised investigation," Nasrallah said.

He added he was not calling for Bitar's immediate removal but demanded that he operate under a single standard and release the results of a technical investigation.

Nasrallah also criticised people he did not name for blaming Hezbollah for the presence of the ammonium nitrate that caused the explosion.

"Where is your evidence for this ugly, heinous accusation? There is none," he said.

READ MORE: In post-explosion Lebanon, Hezbollah has the most to lose

Source: Reuters