Lebanon's Hezbollah chief: Hamas negotiates on behalf of the entire Axis of Resistance

By Laila Bassam and Timour Azhari

BEIRUT (Reuters) -Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Hamas was conducting Gaza ceasefire talks with Israel on behalf of the entire “Axis of Resistance” and, if a deal was reached, Hezbollah would stop its operations with no need for separate talks.

At the same time, Nasrallah warned that Hezbollah was ready for and did not fear a war and pointed to the ever-larger salvos of rockets and drones the group has fired at Israel as evidence.

The Axis of Resistance is an alliance built up over years of Iranian support against Israel and U.S. influence in the Middle East. It includes the Yemen’s Houthis and Shi’ite armed groups in Iraq.

“Hamas is negotiating on its own behalf and on behalf of the Palestinian factions, and also on behalf of the entire Axis of Resistance. What Hamas accepts, we all accept,” Nasrallah said, speaking in a televised address to mourn the recent killing of a senior Hezbollah commander.

Hezbollah began firing at Israeli targets on the border in support of Palestinians after its ally Hamas launched the Oct. 7 attack on Israel that precipitated the war in Gaza.

It has repeatedly labeled its attacks as a “support front” aimed at drawing Israeli military resources away from Gaza and supporting Palestinians.

Tens of thousands of Israelis and Lebanese have been forced to evacuate from the area around the border between the two countries and international observers have warned in recent weeks of the growing risk of a wider conflict.

The U.S. and France have spearheaded diplomatic efforts to try to secure a deal that would prevent the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah expanding.

Nasrallah said that, for Hezbollah, a Gaza ceasefire would be enough to do that.

“If there is a ceasefire in Gaza then our front will also cease fire without discussion, irrespective of any other agreement or mechanisms or negotiations.”

(Reporting by Laila Bassam and Timour Azhari; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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