Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah warned top military commanders in a private meeting this week that there will be a war with Israel this summer and that he may not be around to support them, according to Elijah J. Magnier, a writer for the Kuwaiti Al Rai news.
“I may not remain among you for very long; it is possible that the entire first level of leadership could be killed, including myself,” Nasrallah reportedly told the commanders. “Measures and procedures have already been taken to be ready even if this extreme case happens.”
Al Rai is Kuwait's daily newspaper. Surveys by the Washington-based Intermedia group have ranked the paper one among Kuwaiti newspapers.
Nasrallah reportedly said that he expects the war to take everybody by surprise, like the 2006 Lebanon War.
“Israel can surprise us all like it did in Gaza in 2008 with the objective of removing the threat on its borders once and for all,” Nasrallah stated. “This is what our people should know, and they should from now on be prepared for the worse-case scenario.”
According to the report, Hezbollah believes that Israel will evacuate Israeli settlements near the Lebanese border to prevent the possibility of kidnappings.
A “knowledgeable source” told Magnier that “this is the first time Sayyed Nasrallah has offered such a bleak perspective, raising the chances of war with Israel from 50/50 to 70/30.”
Magnier also claims that Nasrallah believes that other countries, including the USA, the UK and many Arab states could take part in an upcoming conflict.
Hezbollah’s “pessimism” comes after an evaluation of the regional situation, according to the Al Rai writer, including the outcome of the Israeli elections, US support for Israel and an increased international willingness to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah is already taking measures to prepare for a conflict, according to Magnier, and has abandoned hundreds of locations in Lebanon.
Hezbollah may act aggressively toward the Lebanese government should they try to intervene, as in 2008, when they occupied Beirut when the government attempted to disrupt their communications system.
Sources from within Hezbollah have denied the report, saying that all of it is a “fabric of the writer’s imagination,” according to Lebanon 24 news. The sources also said that Nasrallah will speak about regional, international and local political issues on Monday afternoon.
Magnier tweeted that he still stands by his report, even though a Hezbollah spokesperson denied it.
Hezbollah is believed to have around 130,000-150,000 rockets and missiles that can reach far into Israeli territory. Israeli air strikes have repeatedly targeted weapons convoys and Iranian targets in Syria to prevent the terrorist organization from acquiring precision weapons.
In December, Israel launched Operation Northern Shield to locate and destroy cross-border attack tunnels on the Lebanese border built by Hezbollah.
Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.
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