Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah lauded the Palestinian “resistance” and mocked Israel Friday at a large gathering in the Shi’ite stronghold of south Beirut. It was the first time he weighed in on the Gaza-Israeli conflict in public.

“The resistance has succeeded in creating a deterrent against Israel,” lauded Nasrallah, referring to the Palestinian groups who fired rockets into Israel in Pillar of Defense.

He mocked Israel and said it failed in its recent military operation, adding that it is now wondering how to deal with other resistance groups. Israel hadn’t planned in advance to hit meaningful targets in Gaza, Nasrallah said, and had no intention of toppling the Hamas government in the Strip. He added that Israel had set only “modest goals” during the operation, but had failed to achieve them.

“The first goal was to destroy the Palestinian resistance’s leadership. He [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] failed in that. The second goal was to destroy the resistance’s missile system. He also failed in that. The third goal was to reinforce Israel’s deterrence power. This war actually weakened this power,” the Hezbollah chief said.

He was speaking at a large gathering for the Shi’ite day of mourning, Ashura, amid unprecedented security measures because of threats of a suicide bombing.

Pundits had noted that Nasrallah was unusually quiet on the sidelines of Pillar of Defense, likely because the Shi’ite terror group was strained due to the Syrian uprising and internal Lebanese political strife.