Nasrallah: Israel behind Lebanon car bombing of Hamas official
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Nasrallah: Israel behind Lebanon car bombing of Hamas official

Terror chief says US claims of Hezbollah drug trafficking are ‘detached from reality’

In this October 24, 2015 photo, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addresses a crowd in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)
In this October 24, 2015 photo, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addresses a crowd in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Friday accused Israel of responsibility for the explosion that wounded a top Hamas official in Lebanon on January 14.

“We expect Lebanese authorities to treat this incident as a serious violation of Lebanese sovereignty,” he said during a televised address to commemorate Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria.

Hamas’s political bureau in Lebanon has also suggested Israel may have been involved in the car bomb that injured Mohammad Hamdan in the city of Sidon, though Israeli ministers have downplayed that possibility.

Nasrallah also denied US allegations that his terror organization deals in narcotics and money laundering, calling the claims “entirely detached from reality.”

Earlier this month the US Justice Department announced the creation of a special task force to investigate what it called “narco-terrorism” by the powerful Lebanese organization.

The terrorist leader said in a speech that such actions would contravene Islamic law. “Hezbollah has a clear religious position on this — drug trafficking is forbidden, including among the hostile Israeli population.”

The American unit will comprise specialists on money laundering, drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime, targeting Iran ally Hezbollah’s sprawling network, whose reach extends across Africa and into Central and South America, the department said.

The move comes amid a stepped-up effort to battle Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East and expanded military capabilities of Hezbollah, one of the dominant forces in Lebanese politics.

Officials in Washington, and US allies Saudi Arabia and Israel, have increasingly raised the alarm over Hezbollah’s growing power in Lebanon and around the world.

Nasrallah also said a US pledge to keep its troops in Syria to defeat the Islamic State group was just a “flimsy excuse” to occupy the country.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that US forces would remain in Syria to both fight IS and counter the influence of President Bashar Assad.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University on January 17, 2018 in Stanford, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)

Assad is a key ally of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which has deployed its forces to keep the Damascus regime in power.

“The Americans are the last people to have anything to do with rolling back Daesh,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

The US, according to the Hezbollah leader, was “creating flimsy excuses to keep their forces and bases in the region. This is the real aim.”

The United States has deployed around 2,000 ground troops to Syria and its warplanes patrol the skies over the east of the country, hunting IS remnants.

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