Hezbollah deputy: No war this summer 'unless Israel chooses'
Sheikh Naim Qassem spoke at a gathering in southern Lebanon, saying that the violence seen across the region will not come to the small country this summer, "unless Israel chooses war."
By YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA, ZACK PYZERUpdated: JUNE 13, 2016 01:44
"There are no signs that Israel is preparing for a new assault on Lebanon, but if she chooses to do so, she will find that Hezbollah is at maximum readiness", said the Lebanese terror organization's deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem, at a ceremony in the south of the country on Sunday.In his speech, Qassem said that while over the summer the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen are set to continue, he does not expect to see a war on Lebanese soil. He credited Hezbollah's role in Israel's withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in 2000, saying that the group's "victory" will ultimately bring about Israel's downfall."Divine victory in May 2000 ended the era of Israeli expansion," said Qassem. "Israel is not able to behave as it could before, since she has learned a lesson and began an era of decline. So, we have the right to look to the future and say that Israel will disappear."Qassem added: "We did not defeat Israel because of the rifle, but because we have educated our children against the international takfiris (apostates). God gives us victory because of their faith, and today we are honored with the land, thanks to this belief."The speech comes on the back of reports that Hezbollah is undergoing extensive preparations for a potential next round of the ongoing conflict with Israel. The group, already embroiled in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, have reportedly been digging terror attack tunnels, tracking IDF movement and positioning its large arsenal of rockets along the Israel's northern border.Despite the lack of open conflict between the sides, there are sporadic reports of IDF action against Hezbollah in Syria. Most recently, Israel was believed by some in the foreign media to be behind the targeted assassination of top Hezbollah commander Mustafa Amine Badreddine in Damascus airport earlier in May.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in April confirmed that the IDF had been sent into action to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring "game changing weaponry.""We act when we should act, across the border, in dozens of attacks, to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring game-changing weaponry,” Netanyahu said on a visit to the Golan Heights.