Interest increases ahead of a speech announced by Hassan Nasrallah, scheduled for Friday. This will be Nasrallah's first public statement since the war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, and people are filled to the brim with theories about what he'll say.
As Hezbollah was already embroiled in low-key fire exchanges with the IDF for almost a month, many can't help thinking he'll announce an expansion of that conflict, while others believe that's not possible, considering the S.S Ford aircraft carrier is still resting in the eastern Mediterranean, looking to see if anything boils over on the Israel-Hezbollah front.
Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi on Thursday said Israel was prepared for a fight on multiple fronts and member of the war cabinet, Benny Gantz said he did not recommend to the Iran-backed terror group, to begin a war with Israel. IDF spokesperson, Brigadier General Daniel Hagari warned that the IDF was on full alert and prepared for any development. "We will respond forcefully to anyone who tries to destabilize the northern front," he said.
Rocket fire targeting the Galilee continued on Thursday with Hezbollah militants firing off an anti-tank missile toward an IDF outpost, and the Israelis responded by attacking a Hezbollah squad that attempted their own rocket launches in a nearby sector, including two outposts inside Lebanese territory. Hamas claimed responsibility for a rocket attack targeting the northern city of Kiryat Shmona where four of the rockets landed, wounding two and causing damage and a fire.
It would appear Hezbollah was going out of its way to ramp up expectations ahead of Nasrallah's speech, presumably as his behest. A promotional video shows Nasrallah walking down a hallway with his back to the camera, with the Hezbollah symbol parading in the background. It announced Nasrallah will speak in a ceremony celebrating "Martyrs who died on route to Jerusalem".
Other unaffiliated sources have since flooded social media with videos and pictures associated with Hezbollah, conveying vague messages designed to raise tensions and to get people to endlessly speculate on what he'll say, a tactic likely designed to beef up ratings for the actual speech.
It bears mentioning Hezbollah has given plenty of clues about their intentions after October 7, and Nasrallah has already met several Hamas and PIJ officials to stress the importance of unity among their ranks and the continued cooperation of the Resistance Axis.
A new document by Hezbollah, released on Wednesday, said: "This is part of our determination outside from Palestine. To support al-Aqsa, we've taken up arms. Victory is ours and a new morning beckons. People of Gaza, the killing of your children, wives and elderly is large, but your determination is larger. You've shown the world they're weaker than a spider web and liberation is nearly upon us."
Lebanese people don't want a war, but Nasrallah might
Lebanon is apprehensive about going to war with Israel. "We've had enough of wars in Lebanon, and we choose peace, yet the decision on whether we go to war lies with Israel," Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Wednesday.
While Mikati was meeting with diplomats it seemed evident that he was not the one to determine what would happen next in his country. Last week, a Lebanese opposition member told the UK-based a-Sharq el-Awsat, that whether a war with Israel will happen or not, was entirely up to Hezbollah, warning of "unclear military adventure". Mikati believes Hezbollah would act responsibly rather than drag an exhausted and despondent Lebanese population into a full-on war it has no vested interest in.
The financial crisis plaguing Lebanon in the past few years has taken a toll on the population. Lebanese al-Akhbar said on Thursday that should war break out, national institutions would be teetering on collapse, forcing the country to rely on UN assistance for social, humanitarian and medical assistance for the people, just like they had done after the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut in 2020.
According to reports in the local press, political parties and civilian organizations alike were taking steps to prepare for an exodus from the country's southern region, where most of the the Israeli attacks were expected - preparing temporary accommodations such as schools and public venues further north. While many have already left southern Lebanon, others are just too poor to even attempt a similar trip.
The Lebanese Minister of Economy and Trade, Amin Salam, visited the port of Beirut this morning, and said authorities were working on emergency procedures should a war with Israel erupt, specifying that storing emergency food rations would take place in the ports of Tripoli as well as the Saida port, south of the capital. The minister also appealed to the public, asking them to avoid "panic runs" to make sure each family was buying responsibly, to avoid a food shortage.