Nasrallah: Hezbollah ready to fight Israel despite Syrian war

Shiite leader promises that rockets will again force the closure of Ben Gurion Airport during the next conflict

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addresses supporters in Beirut, Lebanon, on November 3, 2014. (AFP/STR)
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addresses supporters in Beirut, Lebanon, on November 3, 2014. (AFP/STR)

Hezbollah’s rockets can hit anywhere in Israel and the Lebanese terror group is not afraid to fight Israel in another war, head Hassan Nasrallah told supporters in a fiery speech Tuesday.

Hezbollah “is fully ready in southern Lebanon,” Nasrallah said, addressing via video thousands of Lebanese Shiites commemorating the Ashura holiday in southern Beirut, Naharnet reported.

He said the group’s activities fighting in support of the Syrian regime had not affected its battle readiness.

Hezbollah’s campaigns in Syria has cost the group over 1,000 fighters, according to some reports.

“Israel’s threats of another war on Lebanon do not stem from its power because it has lost hope and is concerned…the resistance is a real threat to Israel,” said Nasrallah.

Hezbollah’s secretary-general also pledged that the Shiite organization’s rockets would force Israel to close its sea ports and main airport in the next conflict.

“Israelis are saying in the media that they would have to close down the Ben Gurion Airport and the Haifa port and yes, that’s true,” said Nasrallah, the Daily Star reported.

“You should close all of your airports and your ports because there is no place extending on the land of occupied Palestine that the resistance’s rockets cannot reach.”

Israel knows that fighting Hezbollah “will be very costly because we are more determined, stronger, more experienced … and we are capable of achieving such accomplishments,” he continued.

Nasrallah also addressed Israeli plans to build new housing units in East Jerusalem, saying that the “the Zionists are taking advantage of the Islamic world’s turmoil to reach their objectives.” He called on the Arab League to take a firm stance against the planned construction.

Lebanese, Palestinian and Hezbollah flags on the northern side of Israel's border with Lebanon (photo credit: Hamad Almakt/Flash 90)
Lebanese, Palestinian and Hezbollah flags on the northern side of Israel’s border with Lebanon (photo credit: Hamad Almakt/Flash90/File)

He justified Hezbollah’s military support of Syrian President Bashar Assad against Syrian and jihadi rebels: “We are part of the confrontation against the biggest danger facing the region. We have the honor to be part of the victory that will be achieved.”

Nasrallah’s televised address comes a day after he made a rare public appearance in the Lebanese capital’s southern suburbs, addressing thousands of his supporters ahead of the Shiite Ashura commemorations.

As he appeared on stage Monday wearing a black robe and turban, the crowd seen in a live broadcast on Hezbollah’s al-Manar television began cheering wildly, as they apparently had not expected to see him.

The head of the Shiite group had not appeared in public since July when he attended a rally to show support for the Gaza Strip.

Monday’s appearance marks his sixth since his group fought Israel in a devastating war in 2006.

In his speech, the Hezbollah chief spoke about the civil war raging in neighboring Syria, internal Lebanese politics, and Iranian support for the Lebanese Army. Hezbollah’s fighters also clashed with the jihadists in eastern Lebanon in October, and its strongholds have come under repeated bomb attacks over its involvement in the Syrian conflict.

Nasrallah’s address Monday came ahead of the peak of Ashura, a festival that marks the killing of Imam Hussein, one of the most revered figures of Shiite Islam and grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

Hussein was killed at the hands of soldiers of the caliph Yazid in the year 680, an event that lies at the heart of Islam’s sectarian divide into Shiite and Sunni sects.

AFP contributed to this report. 

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