Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel on Sunday that thousands of rockets would rain down on Tel Aviv and cities across the Jewish state if it attacked Lebanon.
Speaking four days after the ceasefire which ended a week of conflict between Israel and the Hamas in Gaza, Nasrallah said Hezbollah’s response to any attack would dwarf the rocket fire launched from Palestinian territories.
“Israel, which was shaken by a handful of Fajr-5 rockets during eight days - how would it cope with thousands of rockets which would fall on Tel Aviv and other cities ... if it attacked Lebanon?” Nasrallah said.
The Fajr-5s, with a range of 75 km (45 miles) - able to strike Tel Aviv or Jerusalem - and 175 kg (386 lb) warheads, are the most powerful and long-range rockets to have been fired from Gaza.
But Hezbollah, which fought Israel to a standstill in a 34-day war six years ago, says it has been re-arming since then and has a far deadlier arsenal than Hamas. Nasrallah has said Hezbollah could kill tens of thousands of people and strike anywhere inside Israel if hostilities break out again.
“If the confrontation with the Gaza Strip ... had a range of 40 to 70 km, the battle with us will range over the whole of occupied Palestine - from the Lebanese border to the Jordanian border, to the Red Sea,” Nasrallah said.
Hezbollah could hit targets “from Kiryat Shmona - and let the Israelis listen carefully - from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat”, he said, referring to Israeli’s northernmost town on the Lebanese border to the Red Sea port 290 miles further south.
The movement has warned that any Israeli attack against the nuclear facilities of Iran would inflame the Middle East - though it has not specified its own response.
In a move it said showed it could penetrate deep inside Israeli defenses, it flew a drone over Israel last month. The drone, nicknamed Ayoub, was shot down after flying 25 miles into southern Israel.
Israel claims its Iron Dome missile defense system knocked out 90% of the rockets fired from Gaza.