The Lebanese Hezbollah terror group released a video Sunday morning threatening gas-extraction infrastructure at an offshore Israeli field near a disputed sea border between the countries.
Hezbollah recently escalated its rhetoric and actions over the border dispute after Israel moved a natural gas drillship into its Karish field, which Lebanon claims is a disputed area. In its boldest move, Hezbollah sent four drones towards the Karish platform a few weeks ago, all of which were intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces.
The Sunday video begins with the text “Playing with time is useless” in Hebrew and Arabic.
Footage and coordinates of the Arendal Spirit platform, Energean’s floating production system and Stena’s Icemax drill are shown between clips of an apparent naval missile system being prepared.
Some photos of the gas production sites are dated July 30th.
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“In range”, it says at the end of the video.
Israel and Lebanon, which have no diplomatic ties, have been embroiled in indirect US-brokered talks over rights to the Karish gas field and demarcation of a disputed sea border between the two countries.
Earlier this month, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that the drones sent to the Karish field were “just the beginning” and that his group would go to war over the field.
FILE: Hezbollah fighters raise their hands as their leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks via video link during a rally to mark Jerusalem or Al-Quds Day in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon April 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Some Lebanese leaders have criticized the terrorist group for launching the drones, saying it was an unnecessarily risky action.
Read more: Hezbollah hints it’s ready for a gas war – but knows Lebanon can’t afford one
In footage released by the military on July 2, 2022, a sea-based Iron Dome air defense system can be seen on a naval vessel guarding Energean’s floating production, storage and offloading vessel at the Karish gas field. (Israel Defense Forces)
Lebanon’s financial situation, which has been spiraling out of control since 2019, has been branded by the World Bank as one of the world’s worst economic crises since the 1850s. Meanwhile, the country faces major political chaos, exacerbated by the deadly 2020 explosion at the port of Beirut.
Israeli leaders have countered that the country’s military will crack down on any threat and have urged Lebanon to reach an agreement so it can start producing gas and extricate itself from its current economic downturn. Israel has also issued strong warnings to Hezbollah through diplomatic and military channels.
Israel retains sovereignty over the Karish gas field and has attempted to develop it while trying to position itself as a natural gas supplier to Europe.
Lebanon’s Acting Minister of Energy Walid Fayad (R) meets with U.S. Senior Adviser for Energy Security Amos Hochstein in Beirut July 31, 2022. (Anwar AMRO/AFP)
On Friday, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said he was more optimistic than ever about the negotiations. US Energy Ambassador Amos Hochstein flew back to Lebanon for talks on Sunday.
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