(photo credit: HO / AL-MANAR TV / AFP)
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on Israel to dismantle its nuclear reactor in Dimona on Thursday, warning that it poses a threat to Israel's existence should it be hit by one of Hezbollah's missiles.
Nasrallah made a similar threat against Haifa's ammonia tank last year, saying that a missile hitting the facility could have the affect of a nuclear bomb. Last week, a Haifa court ordered the tank closed, citing the security threat.
Speaking in a televised speech commemorating Hezbollah's slain leaders, Nasrallah said that Hezbollah sees Israel's emptying of the ammonia tank as a sign that it fears the Lebanese Sh'ite group.
"I call on Israel not only to empty the ammonia tank in Haifa, but also to dismantle the nuclear reactor in Dimona. Our military capabilities will strike Israel and its settlements," he warned.
Nasrallah also suggested that Israel has been emboldened by the election of Donald Trump as US president.
"Trump's election does not scare us, even if claims that he will give [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu the green light to wage a war on Lebanon turn out to be true," Lebanese news website Naharnet quoted Nasrallah as saying.
"Israel is continuing to launch threats against Lebanon and speaks of the third Lebanon war and of what it will do during this third war," Nasrallah stated. " We've been hearing these threats since the end of the July 2006 war. Every other day we hear statements about the third Lebanon war and about the coming vengeance. The new threats are based on the election of Trump, but the policy of the new American administration in the region is not clear," he added.
The leader of the Lebanese Shi'ite group downplayed the importance of Israel's superior air force in a potential conflict.
"Aerial war alone cannot decide the fate of the battle and cannot achieve victory," Nasrallah said. "Had it not been for the Syrian army's fighting on the ground in Syria, it would not have been able to achieve decisive victory," he added.
Discussing Wednesday's meeting between Netanyahu and Trump, Nasrallah said that the prospect of peaceful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians was now over.
"After what came out after the meeting between Netanyahu and Trump, I am not exaggerating if I say that yesterday there was a semi-official announcement of the death of the path of negotiations," he said.Reuters and Yasser Okbi contributed to this report.