Hezbollah's Nasrallah: War With Israel Could Draw Hundreds of Thousands of Fighters From Across Arab World

Hezbollah's leader says Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias currently fighting in support of Assad in Syria could take part in a conflict with Israel

Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah chant slogans and gesture during a rally marking Al-Quds day in Beirut's southern suburbs, Lebanon June 23, 2017.
Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah chant slogans and gesture during a rally marking Al-Quds day in Beirut's southern suburbs, Lebanon June 23, 2017. AZIZ TAHER/REUTERS

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that a future war waged by Israel against Syria or Lebanon could draw thousands of fighters from countries including Iran, Iraq and Yemen. 

His comments indicated that the same array of Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias currently fighting in Syria in support of President Bashar Assad could take part in any future conflict with Israel. 

The speech in Beirut marked Al-Quds day. 

"The Israeli enemy must know that if an Israeli war is launched on Syria or Lebanon, it is not known that the fighting will remain Lebanese-Israeli, or Syrian-Israeli. This doesn't mean there are states that might intervene directly," he said. 

"But this could open the way for thousands, even hundreds of thousands of fighters from all over the Arab and Islamic world to participate," he said in a televised speech. 

Nasrallah has repeatedly warned Israel against attacking Lebanon, where the Iran-backed Shi'ite group is based, and from where it sends fighters to support Assad against insurgents. 

Nasrallah stressed the importance of the Palestinian plight for the Arab world. He mentioned Saudi efforts to normalize ties with Israel, but noted that regardless of these bids, "all Arab nations oppose normalization with Israel which means most of the nations support the axis of resistance and the fight against Israel."

He accused Israel of trying to pressure the Palestinians to capitulate to its and the Americans' demands, but said that won't happen if the "axis of resistance" continues to grow stronger.