In his first public statement since November, the leader of the Iran-backed terrorist group, Hezbollah, said that in a future war all of Israel “will be struck by our rockets,” The Jerusalem Post reported Saturday.
In the interview with the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen television station, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah also dismissed Israel’s success in locating and destroying the attack tunnels that Hezbollah had built.
“The uncovering of the tunnels does not affect by 10 percent our plans to take over the Galilee. If we decide to do it — even if they’ve destroyed the tunnels — can’t we rebuild them?” Nasrallah asked rhetorically as reported in the account of the interview in The Times of Israel. The terrorist chieftan also claimed that operation Northern Shield “has not ended, despite the Israelis having announced its completion. Digging is still going on.”
Nasrallah said that the tunnels would be a “helping factor” in facilitating a Hezbollah conquest of northern Israel, but that would help only in a “limited and partial manner.”
The Hezbollah leader also said, “The Israelis discovered a number of tunnels after many years, and it’s not a surprise. The surprise is that these tunnels, they took some time to find.” He asserted that some of the tunnels had been around for 13 or 14 years. According to a news report earlier this month, Israel was aware that Hezbollah had been digging tunnels since its 2006 war with that terror group.
Nasrallah’s interview appeared to confirm assessments by the IDF that Hezbollah, in its next war with Israel, plans to invade the Galilee and cut it off from the rest of Israel.
Despite displaying extensive knowledge of the tunnels’ existence and role in future combat with Israel, Nasrallah denied that Hezbollah had actually dug the tunnels. “I don’t have to say that I or Hezbollah dug the tunnels, because we always prefer to keep ambiguity on defense,” Nasrallah said. He also refused to say whether all the tunnels had been destroyed.
UNIFIL, the United Nations force that is charged with watching the border between Lebanon and Israel, assessed that the tunnels violated UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, and prohibits any armed forces south other than the Lebanese army south of the Litani River.
Nasrallah warned that if Israel and Hezbollah would go to war in the future, “all of occupied Palestine will be a war and battlefield.”
Iran’s semi-official PressTV released an edited version of the interview highlighting Nasrallah’s warnings to Netanyahu.
Netanyahu countered during Sunday’s cabinet meeting, saying that Nasrallah was “embarassed” and had to speak publicly “because of the great success of our Operation Northern Shield.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "Nasrallah broke his silence yesterday. He is very embarrassed for three reasons: One, because of the great success of our Operation Northern Shield. pic.twitter.com/fV57ymp42x
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) January 27, 2019
Israel said two weeks ago that it had uncovered all six cross-border tunnels and destroyed them.
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