Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders meet to plot a path to ‘victory’

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GAZA – Leaders from Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad – the three primary Iran-backed groups currently fighting Israel – met to discuss what the alliance must do to achieve “a real victory for the resistance” amid this “sensitive stage” in the Middle East, Hezbollah said on Wednesday.

A photo of the meeting was released by Hezbollah’s news media arm.

Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of the Lebanese militant group and political party, Saleh Al-Arouri, the deputy head of Hamas, and Ziad Nakhale, the secretary-general of Islamic Jihad, sit beneath framed portraits of Iran’s supreme leaders.

Beneath the portraits, a bust of the Dome of the Rock, the Islamic shrine that is a widely recognised symbol of Jerusalem, can be seen adorned with a kaffiyeh, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

A framed image of a Quranic verse is also visible. It reads: “They will not fight you all except within fortified cities or from behind walls.”

Hezbollah did not specify when the meeting took place.

But it serves as the latest evidence of deepening ties between the three militant groups.

In recent years, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have sought to re-forge an alliance after a period of colder relations between Hezbollah and Hamas.

The two armed groups had previously backed opposing sides in the Syrian civil war.

Although scarce, the details of the meeting released on Wednesday come as tensions have risen on the Israel-Lebanon border.

There are also fears of a broader conflict that would draw in supporters of Hamas, which Israel aims to eradicate as part of an anticipated ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

If Israel pushes ahead with its stated goal of attempting to dismantle Hamas, analysts believe this may constitute one of Hezbollah’s so-called red lines with Israel.

If Hezbollah feels pushed to act and enter into a war with Israel, the human cost would most likely be catastrophic. NYTIMES

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