Hezbollah second-in-comman Sheikh Naim Qassem
Hezbollah second-in-comman Sheikh Naim QassemReuters

The deputy leader of the Hezbollah terrorist organization, Naim Qassem, said on Tuesday evening that his group is prepared to fight Israel if necessary.

Speaking hours after Hezbollah claimed responsibility for a bomb attack along the Lebanese-Israeli border which wounded two IDF soldiers, Qassem was quoted by the Daily Star as having said the attack was meant to demonstrate the group’s ability to “respond to Israeli violations”.

“The Shebaa Farms (where the explosion occurred) are occupied and it is the right of the resistance to conduct operations to liberate the land,” Qassem said in a televised interview..

The explosion was meant to signal that the group is ready to fight Israel, despite Hezbollah’s intervention in other regional battle fields, he added.

“We wanted to tell Israelis that we are ready and that there is no way they can assault us while we stand by and watch,” said Qassem, according to the Daily Star.

Hezbollah said earlier that Tuesday afternoon’s attack was carried out by the "martyr Hassan Ali Haidar unit," which is named for a Hezbollah member killed on September 5 when an Israeli listening device in Lebanon was detonated remotely as he tried to dismantle it.

The two soldiers who were wounded in the explosion were said to be suffering from moderate and light wounds following the blast.

The Israeli military said the soldiers were on the Israeli side of the border when they were targeted.

Nevertheless, Qassem said Hezbollah was not limiting itself to tit-for-tat attacks, adding, “It is our right to carry out operations against Israel when and where we see fit.”

When asked why Hezbollah swiftly claimed responsibility for the operation, Qassem said that the move was meant to express Hezbollah's readiness to counter any breach carried out by the Israeli army.

In an implicit warning to the Israeli forces, the Hezbollah official said that the resistance was capable of planting explosives in areas monitored by Israeli forces.

“This means that the resistance went from Lebanese territories to occupied territories” despite heavy Israeli surveillance, said Qassem, according to the Daily Star.

The attack comes amid rising tensions along the border; just two days ago, IDF forces clashed with the Lebanese army in the same area, with the IDF opening fire on suspects who attempted to infiltrate into Israel, apparently to conduct a terror attack.

Unnamed security sources said a Lebanese army soldier was wounded in the incident, leading to speculation as to whether the army was part of the infiltration attempt.

Hezbollah, which is sworn to Israel's destruction, has recently had its attention and resources diverted to Syria, where it is helping to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad against an array of Sunni rebel forces. Just recently fighting between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda's Nusra Front left eight Hezbollah terrorists dead.

But the Iranian proxy group has sporadically targeted Israeli forces along the border in similar attacks in the past few years, including one just over a year ago which wounded four soldiers.