In full bluster, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addressed thousands of Lebanese Shiite Muslims via video, vowing the terror organization is ready to take on Israel, despite being busy fighting in Syria.
“You should close all of your airports and your ports, because there is no place…on the land of occupied Palestine that the resistance’s rockets cannot reach,” the Lebanese Daily Star quoted Nasrallah as saying. “Anything you can think of, you Zionists, count it in your calculations.”
The reclusive leader, who has made only six public appearances since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, appeared in a video before thousands gathered in Beirut to commemorate Ashoura, which marks the killing of Imam Hussein, a revered figure for Shiites and a grandson of Muhammad. The previous day, he appeared at the festivities in person, surprising celebrants.
Last week, outgoing IDF Northern Commander Maj. Gen. Yair Golan spoke to Army Radio, saying that Hezbollah is a greater threat to Israel than Gaza is. Early last month, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz expressed a similar sentiment, but said he believes Israel can handle the danger.
Nasrallah dismissed the Israelis’ claims as false confidence. “Our understanding is that this doesn’t come from a position of strength, but rather one of weakness.”
He went on, “The Israelis thought that regional events, especially in Syria, would weaken the resistance and our preparedness. The Israelis collect information and base their assumptions on what’s written in Arab and Lebanese newspapers.”
Both Golan and Gantz expressed confidence that Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria’s conflict would keep the terror group occupied, distracting it from targeting Israel. Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters to support embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad in the civil war.
Nasrallah explained Hezbollah’s role in Syria. “We are part of the confrontation against the biggest danger facing the region. We have the honor to be part of the victory that will be achieved.”
Despite divided attentions, Nasrallah insisted “the resistance in Lebanon has not shut its eye for one second on the border with occupied Palestine.” It is “in its highest forms of readiness, and that is why the Israelis know that going to war will be very costly.”
He condemned Israeli construction in east Jerusalem, as well as current tensions over the Temple Mount. “The Zionists are taking advantage of the Islamic world’s turmoil to reach their objectives,” he charged. Regarding the Temple Mount, he called a Jewish presence there “a real and serious danger” for the al-Aqsa Mosque.
“And this is the responsibility of all the Muslims worldwide, not just the residents of Jerusalem alone or the people of Palestine alone or the Arabs alone,” he said. “It would be the ultimate catastrophe and shame” if “one of [Islam’s] holiest sites and blessed mosques” were “desecrated or Judaized or destroyed.”
Two border incidents took place last month, including a roadside bomb which injured two Israeli soldiers. Israel responded by firing shells over the border. Nasrallah took responsibility for the bomb on behalf of Hezbollah, saying the organization would “respond to any Israeli violation at the appropriate time.”