LEBANON’S Iran-backed Hezbollah has insisted it is “fully prepared” to join Hamas in its bloody war with Israel.
Fears of escalation come as leaflets are dropping in Gaza warning more than 1 million citizens to flee its northern parts as Israel‘s military prepares to unleash their troops.
Foreign powers have urged Hezbollah to stay put on the sidelines – but deputy chief Naim Qassem vowed to join “when the time comes for action”.
He told supporters gathered in the southern Beirut suburb: “The behind-the-scenes calls with us by great powers, Arab countries, envoys of the United Nations, directly and indirectly telling us not to interfere will have no effect.
“Hezbollah knows its duties perfectly well. We are prepared and ready, fully ready, and we are following developments moment by moment.”
The group has already clashed with Israel across the Lebanese border multiple times in the past week.
Qassem added: “The question being asked, which everyone is waiting for, is: what Hezbollah will do and what will its contribution be?
“We will contribute to the confrontation within our plan… when the time comes for any action, we will carry it out.”
Leaflets warning citizens of an “imminent attack” have been seen dropping into residential areas as panicked families grab their belongings and run.
Israel’s military has been massing 360,000 soldiers on the border as it gets ready to discharge a huge ground offensive.
In a hint the expected invasion is imminent, the IDF warned: “This evacuation is for your own safety.”
It added that Hamas militants are hiding inside tunnels underneath the city and inside buildings where citizens live.
The IDF said: “In the following days, the IDF will continue to operate significantly in Gaza City and make extensive efforts to avoid harming civilians.”
In the last 24 hours, at least 13 Israeli and foreign hostages being held in northern Gaza were killed in airstrikes.
But Hamas has called on Palestinians to stay in their homes as it dismissed orders as “fake propaganda”.
The terrorist group took full control of the territory in 2007 after ousting the rival Fatah movement.
Meanwhile, the world is bracing itself for a so-called Day of Jihad after the founder of Hamas called for Friday to be a global day of rage against supporters of Israel.
Evil Khaled Mashal called for protests across the Muslim world in support of the Palestinians – saying he wanted their “blood and souls”.
In France, a teacher has been knifed to death by a man shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
And in China, an Israeli diplomat has been stabbed – while large crowds have attempted to storm the Israeli border with Jordan.
It comes as sweeping evacuation orders for almost half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population were delivered shortly before midnight, UN officials said.
All 1.1 million have been told to leave north of Wadi Gaza including Gaza City for the south within 24 hours.
The Israeli military also sent an order directly Friday morning, warning the hundreds of thousands of civilians of Gaza City to flee deeper south into the Gaza Strip.
It sent panic rippling through civilians and workers already struggling under Israeli airstrikes and a blockade.