Lebanon's Hezbollah says not to allow Israel to explore Karish before border dispute solved

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BEIRUT, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- The leader of Lebanon's powerful Shiite party Hezbollah warned on Saturday that Hezbollah will not allow Israel to extract oil and gas from the Karish field before the completion of maritime border demarcation with Lebanon.

"Hezbollah has sent Israel a warning message behind the scenes saying if the extraction from the Karish field begins, the problem with Lebanon has started," Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

"As a result, there has been a public clarification from the Israelis that what is happening is not oil and gas extraction or pumping, but the preparation of pipelines," he added.

Noting Hezbollah's "calm approach" over the past weeks for a chance for negotiations to succeed, Nasrallah said the United States and Israel are aware of its seriousness in its warnings.

"The threats of the enemy will not affect Hezbollah. We are not part of the negotiations, but we keep pace with the negotiations carried out by the Lebanese state. Our eyes and missiles are on the Karish field. If confrontation is imposed on us, it is inevitable," he added.

Lebanese authorities are trying to end a dispute with Israel over maritime borders, which has escalated since Israel on June 5 sent a vessel to the Karish field, which Israel claims is within its economic zone and Lebanon claims in disputed waters.

Israel previously announced that it plans to extract gas from its disputed area with Lebanon as early as September, prompting Hezbollah to threaten attacks if Israel proceeds without first resolving the maritime border dispute with Lebanon. Enditem

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