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Hizbollah says will accept any Hamas truce decision, abide by ceasefire

Jul 11,2024 - Last updated at Jul 11,2024

Smoke billows from the site of an Israeli air strike on the outskirts of the southern Lebanese village of Habbariyeh, near the border with Israel on Tuesday (AFP photo)

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AFP) — Hizbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Wednesday his group would accept Palestinian ally Hamas's decision on Gaza truce negotiations, repeating that his movement would stop cross-border attacks on Israel if a ceasefire were reached.

Hizbollah has traded almost daily fire with Israeli forces in support of Hamas since the Palestinian resistance group's October 7 surprise attack on Israel triggered war in the Gaza Strip, stoking fears of a full-blown conflict.

"Hamas is negotiating... on behalf of the whole axis of resistance," Nasrallah said, referring to regional pro-Iran groups opposed to Israel and the United States.

"Whatever Hamas accepts, everyone accepts and is satisfied with," he said, adding: "We do not ask [Hamas] to coordinate with us because the battle in the first instance is theirs."

Nasrallah's remarks came days after he met with a Hamas delegation headed by foreign relations chief Khalil Al-Hayya, and as talks were to resume in Qatar towards a truce and hostage release deal in the Gaza war, now grinding into its 10th month.

Hamas has signalled that it would drop its insistence on a "complete" ceasefire — which Israel has repeatedly rejected — as a condition for starting truce talks.

Nasrallah repeated his position that "if a ceasefire is reached, and we all hope for that... our front will cease fire without any discussion".

"That is a commitment, because it is a support front and we have been clear [about this] from the start," he said, during a televised address commemorating a senior Hizbollah commander killed in an Israeli strike last week.

However, Nasrallah warned that “we will never allow any attack that the Israeli enemy might carry out against Lebanon [even] if there is a ceasefire in Gaza”.

Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant said Sunday that “we will continue fighting and doing everything necessary to bring about the desired result” in the campaign against Hizbollah, “even if there is a ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip.

In Lebanon, the cross-border violence since October has killed nearly 500 people, mostly fighters but also including 95 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

On the Israeli side, at least 29 people have been killed, the majority of them soldiers, according to the authorities.

Nasrallah said Israeli demands to push Hizbollah back from the border “won’t fix” the situation for Israel.

His group’s launching of “hundreds of rockets and dozens of drones in a single day” towards Israeli targets was a message “that Hizbollah doesn’t fear war”, he added.

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