Hezbollah warned on Monday that it is ready to take military action against Israeli gas-production operations, as a gas-production ship sent by the Energean company to the Karish gas field, located west of Haifa, prepares to begin work.

Hezbollah conditioned its threat on the Lebanese government adopting a “clearer policy” on offshore gas fields, according to Reuters.

“When the Lebanese state says that the Israelis are assaulting our waters and our oil, then we are ready to do our part in terms of pressure, deterrence and use of appropriate means—including force,” said Hezbollah deputy secretary-general Sheikh Naim Qassem, according to the report.

“The issue requires a decisive decision from the Lebanese state,” he added, saying that Hezbollah “urged the government to hurry up, to set a deadline for itself.”

Qassem said the Iran-backed group would act “no matter the response,” even if it led to a broader conflict, according to the report.

The report noted that Lebanon’s president and premier both released statements in recent days warning Israel against operating at the Karish gas field.

Israel says the field in question is located within its exclusive economic zone, and has offered to take part in U.S.-mediated negotiations with Lebanon to resolve the issue.

“Beirut is hoping to reach an agreement that could then help it unlock valuable gas reserves to ease its worst-ever financial crisis,” said the report.

A Reuters report on Tuesday, quoted local media is reporting that U.S. envoy to the maritime negotiations Amos Hochstein will be in the region next week to discuss the conflict. That has yet to be confirmed by U.S. officials.

JNS

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