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Iran’s foreign minister warns Israel from Beirut it could suffer ‘a huge earthquake’

BEIRUT (AP) — Iran’s foreign minister on Saturday called on Israel to stop its attacks on Gaza, warning that the war might expand to other parts of the Middle East if Hezbollah joins the battle, and that would make Israel suffer “a huge earthquake.”

Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in Beirut that Lebanon’s Hezbollah group has taken all the scenarios of a war into consideration and Israel should stop its attacks on Gaza as soon as possible.

Israel considers Hezbollah its most serious immediate threat, estimating it has some 150,000 rockets and missiles, including precision-guided missiles that can hit anywhere in Israel. The group, which has thousands of battle-hardened fighters who participated in Syria’s 12-year conflict, also has different types of military drones.

Hezbollah fighters have been on full alert along Lebanon’s borders with Israel following last Saturday’s attack by the militant Palestinian group Hamas that left hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers dead.

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On Saturday, the Israeli military said an Israeli drone strike along the border with Lebanon killed a “cell” that was trying to infiltrate into Israel. On Friday, Hezbollah said its fighters fired several rockets at four Israel positions along the border.

Amirabdollahian said he met Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who briefed him on the group’s conditions in Lebanon.

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“I know about the scenarios that Hezbollah has put in place,” Amirabdollahian said. “Any step the resistance (Hezbollah) will take will cause a huge earthquake in the Zionist entity.”

Amirabdollahian added: “I want to warn the war criminals and those who support this entity before it’s too late to stop the crimes against civilians in Gaza, because it might be too late in few hours.”

With an eye toward Hezbollah, U.S. President Joe Biden has warned other players in the Middle East not to join the conflict and has sent American warships to the region and vowed full support for Israel.

The Iranian foreign minister said he will be contacting U.N. officials in the Middle East because “there is still an opportunity to work on an initiative (to end the war) but it might be too late tomorrow.”

The possibility of a new front in Lebanon brings back bitter memories of a vicious monthlong war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006 that ended in a stalemate and a tense detente between the two sides.