The leader of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah said Sunday his parliamentary bloc will vote for former army commander Michel Aoun for president at the next balloting session in parliament.
Sunday’s announcement brings Aoun one step closer to the presidency after his political rival, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, announced his party’s support for his candidacy earlier this week.
Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech that his bloc would end its elections boycott that has run for more than two years to vote for Aoun at the next session on Oct. 31.
Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014.
Aoun appears to have the support of the majority of the 128-member parliament.
Nasrallah on Sunday also accused the US and “friends of the US” of being responsible for the ascent of Sunni terror group Islamic State in the region.
In an afternoon sermon, the leader of the Shiite terror group claimed that the US, through Saudi Arabia and “other countries working in its name,” had funded Islamic State activity, “helped it, strengthened it and made life easier for it.”
The terrorist leader added: “Islamic State and those who stand behind them, with their money and support — they should answer for the horrible thing that they did. This is the most terrible thing that has happened in our age.”
In his sermon Nasrallah cast the insurgency against Syrian President Bashar Assad as a facade designed to weaken Iran’s regional access and make “changes to the map,” vowing to stay in the country until it could “defeat the apostate project.”
The Hezbollah leader added that the Syrian rebellion was “not about the fall of the regime, but about targeting the axis of resistance,” a reference to the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance. Assad, whose Alawite sect is on offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, has long provided a corridor for Iranian weapons shipments to the Lebanese Shi’ite terror group. Thousands of Hezbollah fighters are on the ground in Syria in defense of Assad’s government and senior commanders in Iran’s powerful Republican Guard are in advisory positions.