Hezbollah chief claims US-led strike on Syria was driven by ‘Zionist lobby’
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Hezbollah chief claims US-led strike on Syria was driven by ‘Zionist lobby’

In bellicose tirade, Hassan Nasrallah assets Western military action should encourage ‘confidence in our strength, presence, ability’

Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah speaks via video at an election rally on April 15, 2018. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah speaks via video at an election rally on April 15, 2018. (Screen capture: YouTube)

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group said Sunday that this week’s military strikes against Syria, carried out by several Western powers, were the result of pressure from the “Zionist lobby” in the United States.

Speaking by video link at an election rally, Hassan Nasrallah said that despite the pressure, Israel”was disappointed by the limited bombing,” because the military action had “failed to change the equation in its favor,” the Hezbollah-linked Almanar network reported.

Nasrallah reportedly quoted “an Israeli” as saying: “The American missiles were beautiful and smart, but with zero results.”

In the characteristically aggressive address, Nasrallah said that the strike, given its limited nature, proved that the US was not a threat.

“What happened on Saturday should increase our confidence in our strength, presence, ability, and the enemy’s limited options, despite its capabilities,” Nasrallah said. He added that “the limitation of the US aggression is a clear American recognition of the strength of the axis of resistance and its ability to emerge victorious as it did before.”

Medical workers treating toddlers following an alleged poison gas attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, in Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, April. 8, 2018 (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

The Hezbollah chief claimed that the US, Britain, and France rushed to launch the attack, which they said came in response to a chemical attack on civilians by Syrian President Bashar Assad, because they knew that investigators would find no evidence of illegal weapons used in Douma.

“France has admitted that its sources in accusing the Syrian state are based on social communication sites and the images spread on it,” Nasrallah said. “There are no chemical weapons in Syria,” he said.

Nasrallah also echoed Russian claims that many of the Western missiles were shot down. He said that, “the Syrian air defenses managed to drop many of the American missiles before reaching their targets.”

The Hezbollah chief’s asseryoin contradicts the Pentagon statement that no US or allied missiles were stopped. Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon said Syria’s air defenses were ineffective and that many of the more than 40 surface-to-air missiles fired by the Syrians were launched after the allied attack was over.

Iranian proxy Hezbollah has held on to its weapons and made efforts to obtain advanced weaponry, a development Israel has vowed to prevent. Dozens of airstrikes on weapons convoys bound for Lebanon have been attributed to Israel by foreign media reports. Hezbollah has also deployed units south of the Litani River.

US President Trump tweeted “Mission Accomplished” on Saturday, hours after US, French and British warplanes and ships launched more than 100 missiles nearly unopposed by Syrian air defenses. The nighttime Syria assault was carefully limited to minimize civilian casualties and avoid direct conflict with Syria’s key ally, Russia.

A satellite image shows three buildings in the Barzeh research facility near Damascus, Syria, allegedly used to develop chemical weapons, standing in 2013 (L) and destroyed after a strike by the US, Britain and France on April 14, 2018. (ImageSat International)

A team of chemical experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, arrived in Damascus hours after the strikes.

They have been tasked with investigating the site of an April 7 attack in the town of Douma, just east of the capital Damascus, which Western powers said involved chlorine and sarin and killed dozens.

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