Hezbollah’s success in the 2006 Second Lebanon War changed the balance of power in the region and Israel fully understands Hezbollah’s deterrent capabilities, the head of the Lebanon-based terror group, Hassan Nasrallah, declared in a speech aired Friday to mark the ninth anniversary of the end of the conflict.
“Despite the many differences and divisions within Lebanon, the Israeli enemy knows the resistance’s missiles are aimed at it,” he said, according to Israeli website Walla. He was referring to the tens of thousands of missiles thought to be in the possession of the Iranian-sponsored organization.
Nasrallah called the war a “divine victory” for Hezbollah, which he claimed had thwarted an Israeli plan at the end of the war to conquer Lebanese territory south of the country’s Litani River.
“The myth of the Merkava tank and the glory of the invincible Israeli army was shattered,” Nasrallah said.
Warning against a future conflict, Nasrallah said that “Israel has no military strategy that could lead it to victory in Lebanon.” Addressing Israel directly, he said: “Your army has been defeated.”
Israel and Hezbollah waged war for 34 days in July and August 2006, after then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert ordered a massive military response to the abduction and murder of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Hezbollah responded by firing thousands of rockets into northern Israel.
The war killed some 1,200 Lebanese, including hundreds of civilians, and 165 Israelis, and caused heavy damage to Lebanon’s infrastructure.
“The victory over Israel in the 2006 war changed the balance of power in the region,” he declared, according to Channel 2. “The regime in Tel Aviv was humiliated during the days of the war and senior officials in Israel have admitted it,” he claimed.
A leading Israeli intelligence official said earlier this year that Hezbollah has an estimated 100,000 short-range rockets capable of striking northern Israel, several thousand missiles that can reach Tel Aviv and central Israel and hundreds more that can reach across the entire country.
Though another Israel-Hezbollah war is always possible, analysts say the group has no interest in renewing hostilities while it is busy fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces against rebels trying to topple him in Syria.