Nasrallah touts lack of IDF response to drone as sign of Hezbollah’s might

Lebanese Shiite leader says new reality deterring ‘Zionists’; blasts Arab League for silence on Gaza

Ilan Ben Zion is an AFP reporter and a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Monday that Israel’s lack of response to the drone that entered its airspace in October was a sign of the Shiite militia’s newfound strength in the face of its enemy to the south.

Speaking via videolink to supporters in Beirut on Martyrs Day, Nasrallah called the unmanned aerial vehicle, which he said gathered intelligence, a “progressive measure and part of our new deterrence policy against the enemy.”

“Israel did not do anything” after the October 6 UAV incident “because today there is a different reality in Lebanon,” Nasrallah said.

“The name of the game is only deterrence. Now the Zionist enemy cannot come and continue to bomb and destroy.”

Nasrallah also criticized the Arab League and Islamic states for not standing up to Israel while, he said, Gaza is attacked daily and dozens are killed and wounded. He called the latest round of fighting between Israel and the Gaza Strip a test for the Arab League.

Regarding the explosion at a munitions factory outside the Sudanese capital of Khartoum last month, Nasrallah charged that Israel “bombed a member of the Arab League. The world is already used to defending Israel and not saying a thing.”

Nasrallah denounced objections by members of the Lebanese opposition to Hezbollah’s sending of the drone, which they called a needless provocation. “The March 14 Coalition began issuing laments and statements of mourning, saying the incident would give Israel an excuse to strike Lebanon,” Nasrallah said.

The Lebanese Daily Star quoted Nasrallah as saying that members of the opposition group “were egging on the Jewish state to attack Lebanon” and hoped Israel would attack.

The Shiite leader devoted much of his speech to disparaging members of the country’s progressive March 14 political alliance as collaborators with the Israelis who “never believed in the resistance” and “never considered the Zionist entity an enemy.”

He charged that Christian members of the opposition group are “complicit with foreign forces” and were trying to ignite internecine violence in Lebanon, particularly between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

Nasrallah dismissed charges that Hezbollah was behind the October 19 car bomb in Beirut that killed police intelligence chief Wissam al-Hassan and instead blamed Israel. He said that the opposition “pointed a finger at Syria without any evidence” and that “some people accused Hezbollah and claimed that the killers of the top Sunni officer are Shiite.

“If they were reasonable, they would have mentioned all possibilities, but the absurd thing is that they excluded Israel from the very beginning and accused Hezbollah,” he noted.

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