A shipment of Iranian fuel oilinfo-icon will be setting sail for Lebanoninfo-icon, organised by the Lebanese group Hezbollahinfo-icon which has warned its USinfo-icon and Israeli adversaries the ship will be considered Lebanese soil as soon as it sails.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallahinfo-icon said on Wednesday that further ships would follow to help the Lebanese people who are enduring crippling fuel shortages as a result of the country's two-year-long financial meltdown.

"We don't want to get into a challenge with anyone, we don't want to get into a problem with anyone. We want to help our people," Nasrallah said. "I say to the Americans and the Israelis that the boat that will sail within hours from Iraninfo-icon is Lebanese territory."

"God willing, this ship and others will arrive safely," Nasrallah said, in a televised address commemorating Ashura, when Shiainfo-icon Muslims mark the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson Hussein in battle in 680.

Nasrallah, whose armed group was founded in 1982, did not say where or when the ship would arrive, saying this would be discussed when it reached the Mediterranean.

In April, Reuters reported that Hezbollah was preparing fuel storage spaceinfo-icon in Syriainfo-icon as part of its efforts to deal with the financial crisis in Lebanon, citing senior officials familiar with the efforts.

The group has fighters and influence in neighbouring Syria, where Hezbollah has fought in support of President Bashar al-Assad in the civil warinfo-icon.

Hoarding fuel and gas

Lebanon's armyinfo-icon seized fuel from petrol stations on Saturday to curb hoarding amid crippling shortages, as the central bank chief stood firm on his decision to scrap fuel subsidies.

Compounding the country's crisis, a top private hospital said it may have to close due to power outages caused by shortages of diesel, warning this could cause hundreds of deaths.

Foreign currency reserves are rapidly depleting, forcing the central bank to scale down funding for imports in an effort to shore up the little money Lebanon has left.