Hassan Nasrallah
Hassan NasrallahReuters

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Monday evening threatened Israel and said that not only the Karish gas rig is under threat but all of Israel's gas fields in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

"All the gas fields are under threat and not just Karish. There is no Israeli target, at sea or on land, that Hezbollah's precision missiles cannot reach," Nasrallah threatened in an interview with the Lebanese television channel Al-Mayadeen, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Shiite terrorist organization.

"If Israel produces gas from the Karish rig in September and Lebanon does not get what it deserves, we are going to have problems."

"We will go to war," Nasrallah threatened. "The decision to go to war is in Israel's hands. We will refrain from doing so and what we do depends on Israel's conduct. If things drag into a war, the Lebanese should trust God and Hezbollah to succeed in imposing Lebanon's will on the enemy."

"What I said in my last speech is that the story is not just about Karish but about all the oil and gas fields off the coast of Israel. The US pressured Lebanon to accept the Israeli offer, while Israel is already preparing to produce gas. Lebanon can achieve everything it wants - today and not tomorrow. But we did not interfere in the process of drawing the maritime border," said the Hezbollah chief.

His comments come amid a continued dispute between Israel and Lebanon over maritime borders. Last month, the Lebanese government objected to the arrival of a vessel operated by London-based Energean off the Mediterranean coast on June 5 to develop a gas field known as Karish.

Israel has said Karish is part of its exclusive economic zone, but Lebanon argues the field is in contested waters and should not be developed until the two countries conclude their indirect talks to delineate their maritime borders.

In 2021, official discussions commenced between representatives of Israel and Lebanon, with the aim of reaching an agreement on their maritime border.

There have been major natural gas discoveries off the coasts of both countries during the last decade, and the border dispute has halted gas exploration in an area that has attracted the interest of US energy companies.

The talks were initiated after Lebanon signed its first contract to drill for oil and gas off its coast with a consortium comprising energy giants Total, ENI and Novatek, including in a block disputed by Israel.

Israel says one of two blocks in the eastern Mediterranean where Lebanon wants to drill for oil belongs to it, and had denounced any exploration by Beirut as "provocative".

The talks fizzled out last year after Lebanon pushed its claim in the disputed zone from a boundary known as "Line 23" further south to "Line 29," adding around 1,400 square km (540 square miles) to its claim, including part of Karish.