Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, will break his silence on the war in Gaza on Friday in a speech that many in the region expect will provide insights into whether the group will escalate its battle with Israel.
Hezbollah is a Hamas ally that is also supported by Iran and committed to the destruction of Israel. Since Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel’s subsequent bombing campaign and invasion of Gaza, fears have risen across the Middle East that Hezbollah would open a second front against Israel on its northern border, sparking a broader war.
In recent weeks, Israel and Hezbollah have been engaged in tit-for-tat shelling and missile attacks along the Lebanon-Israel border, although both sides appear to be calibrating their actions to avoid setting off a broader conflict.
Mr. Nasrallah, who often speaks to his followers in live addresses that are followed across the region, has not spoken publicly since before Oct. 7, raising expectations that he will make a significant announcement on Friday.
Fighting appeared to intensify along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon on Thursday. After a string of cross-border attacks throughout the day, Hezbollah and Hamas both claimed responsibility on Thursday evening for separate and heavy strikes into northern Israel. Israeli television aired footage showing the aftermath of the rocket attack on Israel’s northernmost city, Kiryat Shmona.
Earlier in the day, Hezbollah also said it had used explosive-packed drones to attack an Israeli army position in a disputed border area known as Shebaa Farms, the latest indication that it is attempting to use more of its arsenal.
The Israeli army’s response appeared to be swift and far-reaching, with Lebanon’s state-run news agency reporting that three civilians were killed. In a statement, the country’s military said it had targeted military infrastructure, command and control centers, weapons caches and military compounds belonging to Hezbollah.