Hezbollah's leader vowed Thursday to retaliate against Israeli interests anywhere in the world for the assassination of one of the militant group's most notorious operatives, warning of a war without boundaries in a eulogy delivered to throngs of fist-waving mourners.
Israel ordered its military and its embassies overseas to be on high alert and recommended that Jewish institutions worldwide do the same, fearing revenge attacks for the car bomb that killed Imad Mugniyah, one of the world's most-wanted terrorists, in Damascus on Tuesday.
And in Washington, the FBI put its domestic terror squads on alert for any threats against synagogues or Jewish centers in the United States.
The fiery speech by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, delivered via video to throngs of thousands at Mugniyah's funeral, signaled that the Iranian-backed Shiite group was ending a yearslong policy of battling Israel only in Israeli or Lebanese territory, raising the specter of attacks in Western or other countries.
Hezbollah blamed Israel for killing Mugniyah, but Israel denied involvement. Nasrallah accused Israel of taking the fight outside the "natural battlefield" of Israel and Lebanon.
"You have crossed the borders," said Nasrallah, himself in hiding because of fears of assassination since the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. "With this murder, its timing, location and method - Zionists, if you want this kind of open war, let the whole world listen: Let this war be open."
The thousands of mourners raised their fists, chanting, "At your orders, Nasrallah."
Nasrallah is known for acting on his threats. In 2006, he vowed to take action to free Lebanese prisoners in Israel, and in July of that year, Hezbollah guerrillas staged a daring cross-border raid that snatched two Israeli soldiers as bargaining chips.
The incident triggered a 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah that devastated southern Lebanon. It ended with the Israeli soldiers still captive. No prisoner swap has yet been arranged.