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Nasrallah appears on TV to dispel health rumors
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON
02/27/2013
Hezbollah chief makes televised appearance to refute reports of health deteriorating since being diagnosed with cancer.
 
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech Wednesday night on the organization’s TV channel, Al-Manar, denying rumors that he has fallen ill.

“The rumors spread in the previous days made me hold an urgent media appearance to show you that I am in good health,” said Nasrallah, according to the text of his speech on the news portal Now Lebanon. “There is a media campaign against Hezbollah,” he added.

Nasrallah went on to deny a claim by the US ambassador to Lebanon, who said Hezbollah and Syria are trying to control Sunni Lebanese towns and link Shi’ite towns in Lebanon to Alawite ones in Syria.

“I confirm that what has been said is all lies and unfounded,” he said. In fact, he said, the Syrian opposition had taken Shi’ite Lebanese towns and burned some of them. People in border towns have started to carry weapons to defend themselves, he said, claiming the Syrian rebels are following the orders of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the US.

Nasrallah also warned against sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shi’ites, and said that some Sunni politicians and clerics were instigating violence.

The Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar reported that Nasrallah also denied rumors that his deputy, Naim Qassem, was killed in an attack. Syrian rebels made the claim of Qassem’s death through Twitter early Wednesday, according to another report by Now Lebanon. He also warned Sunnis not to “push us too far,” according to the paper.

“If new rumors go around, you’ll see me again,” Nasrallah concluded his speech according to al-Akhbar.

Meanwhile, Radio Sawt Beirut International, which is reported to have connections with Hezbollah’s opposition, claimed that Nasrallah’s speech was actually filmed in Iran.

The report said he is visiting Qom for cancer treatment and that in addition to a joint Iranian- Venezuelan team of doctors, he is being treated by physicians from Egypt, Bahrain and Jordan.

The station had reported on Monday, citing unidentified sources, that Nasrallah was transferred over the weekend to Iran “aboard an Iranian presidential plane,” which left from the Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport.
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