Lebanon: Hezbollah warns Israeli gas drilling vessels within range of its missiles
By Naim Burjawi
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AA): Lebanese group Hezbollah warned Sunday that Israeli gas drilling vessels in the disputed Karish natural gas field are within the range of its missiles.
Israel is setting up a gas rig in the Mediterranean Sea and that Lebanon claims is in a disputed maritime area between the two countries.
Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has accused Israel of provocation by setting up the gas rig.
Last month, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that maritime border negotiations between the two countries have not ended. He warned that any move by Israel — such as drilling in the Karish field will be considered “a provocation and hostile act.”
The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar TV released a video Sunday showing a naval missile being prepared for firing along with a text reading “playing with time is useless.”
The clip also aired the names and coordinates of three Israeli platforms in the Karish field — the Arendal Spirit platform, Energean’s floating production system, and the Stena’s Icemax drill.
The release of the video comes as US mediator Amos Hochstein is scheduled to arrive in Lebanon later Sunday to deliver Israel’s response to Lebanon’s proposal regarding the demarcation of maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.
Early this month, Hezbollah said it had sent three unarmed drones into the Karish field for a “reconnaissance mission.” The Israeli army, for its part, said it intercepted the drones in “its economic exclusive zone” near the borders with Lebanon.
Lebanon and Israel are engaged in a dispute over a maritime area that is 860 square kilometers (332 square miles), according to maps sent by both counties to the UN in 2011.
The area is rich in natural gas and oil. Five sessions of indirect negotiations were held between Lebanon and Israel under UN sponsorship and US mediation. The last round of talks was in May 2021 but it was stuck because of major differences.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar in Ankara
[Map of Lebanon by CIA Factbook/Public Domain]
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