Tens of thousands of people gathered in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, on Friday to watch the widely anticipated televised address of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who spoke for the first time since the Israel-Hamas war broke out.
Celebratory gunshots rang out in the capital as thousands packed into a square in the southern suburbs to watch the speech, which many people in Lebanon were anxiously awaiting, rattled for weeks by fears the conflict could spread to the rest of the region.
His address was also keenly watched outside Lebanon, as Nasrallah is a leading voice in the informal alliance known as the “Axis of Resistance”, led by Iran to counter the influence of the United States and Israel.
He said that a wider regional escalation could not be ruled out if Israel continues its war in Gaza.
In his lengthy remarks, Nasrallah said that “all scenarios are open on our Lebanese southern front” and that “what happens on the Lebanese front will depend on what happens in Gaza”, calling on Israel to stop its attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip to avoid a regional conflagration.