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Sunni Lebanese group: Coordination with Hezbollah vital to combat Israel

A Lebanon-based Sunni Islamic group says close coordination with the resistance movement Hezbollah is vital to fight Israel.

Secretary-General of al-Jamaa al-Islamiya (the Islamic Group) Sheikh Mohammed Takkoush, whose faction is closely-linked to the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, said on Tuesday the current war has helped boost cooperation between the two groups.

He said the Jamaa al-Islamiya had decided to join Hezbollah, a Shia group, in the current fighting along Lebanon’s border.

Israel launched its devastating campaign of death and destruction in the Gaza Strip on October 7, after the Palestinian resistance group Hamas carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities.

The Israeli regime has also been attacking southern Lebanon off and on since the onset of the brutalities. In retaliation, Hezbollah has launched near-daily rocket attacks on Israeli positions.

“We decided to join (the battle) as a national, religious and moral duty. We did that to defend our land and villages,” Takkoush said in an interview with The Associated Press at his group’s headquarters in Beirut.

“We also did so in support of our brothers in Gaza,” where, he said, Israel has been committing an “open massacre.”

The leader of the Islamic Group, which is one of Lebanon’s main Sunni factions, also said he believed Israel is after seizing more territory “not only in Palestine but in Lebanon too.”

Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya’s armed wing, known as the Fajr Forces, carries out attacks against the occupying regime mainly from the southern city of Sidon, where the group once enjoyed wide influence.

According to Takkoush, the Sunni group, which has one member in Lebanon’s 128-seat parliament, makes its own decisions in the field but coordinates closely with Hezbollah, and with the Lebanese branch of Hamas.

“Part of (the attacks against Israeli forces) was in coordination with Hamas, which coordinates with Hezbollah,” he said.

Direct cooperation with Hezbollah, he said, “is on the rise and this is being reflected in the field.”

Takkoush said his group’s “relations with Hezbollah are good and growing and it is being strengthened as we go through war.”

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