Lebanon: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon on Tuesday cautioned Israel against attempting to access offshore gas reserves while talks to resolve a maritime boundary dispute are being facilitated by the US.
Nasrallah, the leader of the Iran-backed Shia Muslim political and military movement, warned supporters in Hezbollah's stronghold southern Beirut that "hands reaching for any of this money will be cut off."
In his televised speech commemorating the Shia mourning ritual of Ashura, he declared that "Lebanon's oil, gas and water resources must remain under its control and no one should be allowed to plunder the country."
The conflict heated up in the first few days of June when Israel moved a production vessel close to the Karish offshore area, which is partly claimed by Lebanon.
As a result, Nasrallah has repeatedly issued threats in response to Beirut's call to resume US-mediated talks.
On 2 July, Israel claimed to have shot down three Hezbollah-launched drones that were headed towards Karish.
The production ship sent to Karish was one of Israel's chartered ships, whose movement claimed to be under surveillance the same month it released a video of the incident.
Nasrallah made his remarks on Tuesday amid Israel's response to a proposal from Lebanon to US mediator Amos Hochstein last month over the border dispute.
In response to the demands of the Lebanese state, Nasrallah said, "We are waiting for a response, and we will respond accordingly, but let me tell you ... we must be ready and prepared for all possibilities." No one should try to challenge us because we will win.
Maritime boundary talks between Israel and Lebanon, which last engaged in hostilities in 2006, were put on hold by recent developments until they resumed in June.
This month, Hochstein said he was working on a solution that would let Lebanon compete in the energy market while still enabling Israel to maintain operations in Karish.
An Israeli official claimed last month that Lebanon would be able to develop the disputed Qana area, also known as the Sidon Reservoir, with the help of an Israeli proposal.