Hezbollah leader threatens Israel's offshore gas drilling rig

BEIRUT -- A leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah organization threatened Thursday to strike an Israeli gas rig Israel is building in the Mediterranean Sea.

Hezbollah leader threatens Israel's offshore gas drilling rig

BEIRUT -- A leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah organization threatened Thursday to strike an Israeli gas rig Israel is building in the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon claims it is located in a maritime dispute area between the two countries.

Israel claims that the area is part of its U.N. recognized exclusive economic zone.

Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah is a strong Iran ally and he denounced in a broadcast address what he called Israeli provocations in the sea area.

Following a warning from Michel Aoun, the President of Lebanon, he said that maritime border negotiations between both countries are not over. He also stated that Israel's actions -- including drilling in Karish fields Beirut claims to be disputed -- would be considered "a provocative and hostile act."

Energean Power, an Energean-owned floating production, storage, and offloading unit, arrived in Karish earlier this week. The ship's arrival in Lebanon triggered alarm as the company is already listed in London and Tel Aviv.

Aoun and Najib Mikati, Lebanon's interim Prime Minister, invited a U.S. diplomat to mediate between Israel and Lebanon to visit Beirut to attempt to reach an agreement. Amos Hochstein is a senior advisor for energy security at U.S. State Department. He will be arriving in Beirut in the coming days.

Due to disagreements within Lebanon about the size of the disputed territory, U.S.-mediated indirect negotiations between Israel and Lebanon have been held up for several months.

Nasrallah stated that Israel should wait to see the outcome of negotiations and that any drilling done before an agreement is reached will be considered an attack on Lebanon.

He stated that "all options are on the table" and added that no security measures taken by the Israeli military will be able protect the gas rig.

He said that the ship and its owners should be aware of the fact that they are "partners" in the current aggression on Lebanon. Nasrallah called for the immediate withdrawal of the vessel from the region. They are fully responsible for the consequences of what could happen to this vessel, including its crew and material damage.

The bitter enemies of Israel and Hezbollah, which is armed, funded and funded by Iran are fighting a month-long war that ended in 2006. The border has remained mostly calm, but tensions have remained.

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