Israel threatens to ‘return Lebanon to stone age’ in any war with Hezbollah

JERUSALEM (Reuters): Israel threatened on Tuesday to “return Lebanon to the stone age” in any war against Hezbollah, following weeks of friction with the armed Iranian-backed group along the countries’ border.

“Do not make a mistake. We do not want a war. But we are prepared to protect our civilians, our soldiers and our sovereignty,” Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said in a statement, his remarks intended for Hezbollah.

Such rhetoric has been heard from both sides since the last Israel-Hezbollah war, in 2006. But it has become more pointed since a roadside bombing in Israel in March, which it blamed on an Hezbollah infiltrator.

The group did not claim responsibility for the bombing.

Recent weeks have seen face-offs between Lebanese civilians, at least one group of Hezbollah operatives and Israeli troops across the fortified frontier.