Hezbollah on Friday said tens of thousands of Lebanese citizens received text messages and recorded calls during a speech by group leader Hassan Nasrallah the previous night, branding him a “murderer.”
The terror organization blamed Israel and an alleged “Israeli-Saudi alliance” for the psychological warfare, “as part of its attempts to shake Lebanese faith in the resistance, and to plant seeds of division,” the Ynet news website reported.
Many of the texts and calls were identified as coming from Hezbollah’s official public relations offices.
Texts accused Nasrallah of being a murderer and a liar, according to Lebanon’s Mulhak news site. Some accused Nasrallah of being behind the killing of “our martyr” Mustafa Badreddine, a top Hezbollah commander assassinated in Syria a year ago.
Nasrallah made the televised speech Thursday on the one-year anniversary of Badreddine’s death.
Israel’s IDF Chief Gadi Eisenkot said earlier this year that Badreddine was killed by his own men. An investigative report by the Saudi Al Arabiya news network said Nasrallah likely ordered the assassination.
In his speech Nasrallah warned that any possible future war with Israel could be waged inside Israeli territory. He said Israel was “scared and worried of any future confrontation… and knows that it could be inside the occupied Palestinian territories,” according to a translation provided by Reuters.
Badreddine was killed on May 10, 2016 in a mysterious explosion near Damascus airport shortly after a meeting with his commanders, according to Lebanese media. Badreddine had inherited the leadership of Hezbollah’s terrorist operations from former commander and cousin Imad Mughniyeh, who is believed to have been assassinated by Israel in 2008. Badreddine’s sister, Saada, was reportedly married to Mughniyeh.
In his speech Thursday, Nasrallah said that “Hezbollah soldiers and rockets can reach all the positions across the Zionist entity during any upcoming war,” according to Hezbollah news site Al-Manar.
He criticized Israel’s efforts to bolster the border area, a project which has been underway for some time. In 2012, a seven-meter (23-foot) high wall separating Israel from Lebanon near the border town of Metulla was completed. The 1,200-meter-long (3,937-foot) wall is outfitted with sophisticated cameras and sensory equipment aimed at preventing infiltration. The 2006 Second Lebanon War began with a cross-border attack by Hezbollah. Last year, Israel put up a concrete wall near Kibbutz Misgav Am in the north.
Nasrallah said these were an acknowledgment of defeat.
“This border wall is an acknowledgment of Lebanon’s massive victory and Israel’s defeat. It is a defeat of Israel’s schemes and ambitions and an acknowledgment of the fall of the Greater Israel project which wanted to establish a state from the Nile to the Euphrates,” Naharnet quoted him as saying.
“When Israel hides behind high walls, it means that it is ‘weaker than a spider’s web,'” he said, repeating a phrase he often uses in anti-Israel speeches.
He also urged the Lebanese people to not be afraid, claiming that “talk of an Israeli war on Lebanon and the resistance that has been going on for months now is part of the usual psychological war and the people should not fear it,” he said.
“I call on the Lebanese people and all those living in Lebanon to live their normal life, seeing as Israel has been launching threats for 12 years. Trust God who gave you several victories and trust your golden army-people-resistance equation,” he said.
Turning to Lebanon’s eastern border, Nasrallah said the group was pulling back from positions along the border with Syria after securing it.
“The mission is accomplished,” he said.
The group has sent thousands of its supporters to Syria to shore up President Bashar Assad’s military in Syria’s civil war and continues to be engaged in battles across many parts of the war-torn country. Its fighters have also fought battles against Sunni militants along the northeastern border with Syria.
Nasrallah said the group will maintain a security presence along the border with Syria to protect against any new infiltration by militants.
AP contributed to this report.