Since the war in Gaza began after Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7, people across the Middle East have feared it could set off a second war between Israel and Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militia, and ignite a broader regional conflagration.

That is not Hezbollah’s plan, the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said in a widely anticipated address to his followers on Friday, his first public remarks since the start of the war. He warned, however, that Hezbollah’s forces were ready for anything.

Hezbollah, he said, was already doing what it set out to do: exchanging fire with a portion of Israel’s military to keep it tied up along the northern border with Lebanon, reducing the burden on Hamas.