The leader of Hezbollah boasted Thursday that the Lebanese terror group now possesses “highly accurate” missiles, despite Israeli attempts to prevent it from acquiring such weapons.
Hassan Nasrallah didn’t offer specifics on the weapons in his traditional televised speech commemorating Ashura, a top religious holy day for Shiite Muslims. But he told supporters they need to be confident in Hezbollah’s capabilities and that the regional balance of power has changed.
He claimed Israeli strikes in Syria to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring precise missiles had proven ineffective.
“I tell (Israel) no matter what it did to cut the [weapons transport] route, it is over. It has already been achieved,” he said, adding that Hezbollah “now possesses precision missiles and non-precision and weapons capabilities.”
Israel worries Hezbollah has been improving its capabilities and has acknowledged carrying out scores of strikes in Syria, most of them believed aimed at halting suspected arms shipments for Hezbollah.
“If Israel imposes a war on Lebanon, Israel will face a destiny and reality it didn’t expect any day,” Nasrallah said.
Israeli leaders have said they will not allow “game-changing” weapons, such as guided missiles, to reach Hezbollah.
Nasrallah’s speech was broadcast on a large screen to supporters in Beirut’s majority-Shiite suburb of Dahiya.
His remarks came just days after Israel targeted a facility in Syria it said was involved in providing weapons to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, during which a Russian reconnaissance plane was struck by Syrian anti-aircraft fire.
Though the Russian military initially blamed Israel for the downing of the plane, which caused the death of 15 Russian servicemen, Russian President Vladimir Putin later said it was due to “tragic accidental circumstances.”
Russia, Iran and Hezbollah are all fighting on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime in the country’s civil war.
On Wednesday, Nasrallah denied that the target of the Israeli strikes was weapons shipments bound for his group, and accused Israel of using Iran and Hezbollah as an “excuse” while really aiming to degrade Syria’s military capabilities.
“This is a lie. Sometimes they do hit places that are connected to weapons — that they know of — but many of the attacks are not related to that at all,” he said. “Israel is working on preventing Syria from possessing missile capabilities.”
Nasrallah also vowed that Hezbollah would remain in Syria. Some 1,665 Hezbollah fighters have been killed there, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“We will remain there even after the Idlib accord,” Nasrallah said, referring to a Russia-Turkey deal to prevent a Syrian regime offensive on the country’s last rebel-held stronghold.
Nasrallah also urged supporters to rally behind Iran, saying it was facing hard times as more US sanctions take effect in November.