Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday defended the four members of the
terrorist organization charged with the murder of former Lebanese prime minister
Rafik Hariri, praising the men as “brothers” – and implying that Israel’s hand
was behind the UN tribunal that issued last week’s indictments.
from an undisclosed location, Nasrallah addressed the allegations for the first
time since the UN court announced the indictments on Thursday.
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that Hezbollah was behind the 2005 killing of the prominent Sunni leader have
already inflamed sectarian tensions in the small and fractious
Nasrallah lamented that charges had been brought against
“brothers who have made history in resisting the Zionist occupation.”
mentioned the possibility of having Israel involved in the murder, and the fact
that [Israeli] agents were present at the murder scene one day before the
murder,” he said, according to a translation provided by the website Now
“No one in the STL [Special Tribunal for Lebanon] even asked the
Israelis anything. This is normal – why? Because the tribunal, since its
formation, had a precise goal, and no one was allowed to talk to the
“Instead of investigating the Israelis, [the STL] gathered
information from them. Imagine that Israel – instead of being under
investigation – has become a source of information and [the tribunal] is
cooperating with it.”
Nasrallah dismissed the tribunal as “politicized,”
and said the arrest warrants issued against the Hezbollah operatives “are a step
in a long journey whose course is becoming clearer, following Israel’s defeat
and the victory of the resistance in the [Second Lebanon] war.”
assassination of Hariri, seen as a Sunni leader, plunged Lebanon into a series
of crises which included killings, brief internal fighting and a 34-day war
between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006.
The main question is whether
Lebanon is going to hand over the suspects for trial.
Hezbollah, which is
both a political party and a heavily armed group, is highly secretive about its
military wing, making the mission of security forces to find the suspects – let
alone arresting them – almost impossible.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Jamal
Wakim of Lebanese International University defended Nasrallah’s
“It would be in the interest of Israel to implicate Hezbollah
in such an act so that it’s viewed not as a resistance moment but a terrorist
movement involved in acts not only against Israelis, but Lebanese,” he said.
“That would mean it is a Shia movement that killed a Sunni leader...in order to
engender civil strife that could lead to a civil war.” Reuters contributed to