Hezbollah chief’s speech, delayed due to blast, rescheduled for Friday evening
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Hezbollah chief’s speech, delayed due to blast, rescheduled for Friday evening

Hassan Nasrallah expected to make his first public remarks on massive explosion at Beirut port, which came amid heightened tensions between Israel and the Lebanese terror group

A speech by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah is transmitted on a large screen in Beirut's southern suburbs on August 31, 2019. (Anwar Amro/AFP)
A speech by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah is transmitted on a large screen in Beirut's southern suburbs on August 31, 2019. (Anwar Amro/AFP)

The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group will give a speech Friday in what are expected to his first public remarks on the deadly blast this week at the Beirut port.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar satellite network said Thursday that Hassan Nasrallah would discuss “developments,” without further elaborating.

Nasrallah was originally supposed to give an address on Wednesday, but it was delayed after Tuesday’s explosion at the Beirut port, which killed at least 135 people, wounded 5,000 and left 300,000 Lebanese homeless.

While there have been rumors Tuesday’s blast was caused by an Israeli attack on Hezbollah targets, officials in both countries have ruled out Israel’s involvement.

A soldier walks at the site of the massive explosion at the port of Beirut on August 6, 2020. (Thibault Camus/Pool/AFP)

The blast came amid heightened tension on Israel’s northern frontier following a recent airstrike attributed to the Israeli military that killed a Hezbollah fighter in Syria, and anticipation that the Lebanese terror group would retaliate.

Hours before the explosion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning to Hezbollah after Israeli forces said they thwarted an infiltration attempt from Syria by suspected militants.

In addition to its military forces, the Iran-backed Hezbollah is the dominant political player in Lebanon and Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government is seen as subservient to it and to President Michel Aoun’s party.

Supporters of Hezbollah in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, on January 5, 2020. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP)

“They will also be held accountable because they are part and parcel of the governing system,” said Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center.

Hezbollah’s influence on the running of the port is known to the public and will reflect badly on the Shiite organization, she said.

Strangled by US sanctions, Hezbollah is also bracing for the upcoming verdict in the trial over the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafic Hariri. The main suspects are alleged Hezbollah members and a guilty verdict could further pile pressure at home and abroad on the Iranian proxy.

The special tribunal in The Hague handling the case announced on Wednesday it was postponing the verdict, initially due on Friday, to August 18 as a consequence of the deadly port blast.

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