Ahmadinejad: Israel's destruction close

Says war with Hizbullah showed that Israeli hegemony had collapsed.

Ahmadinejad is so cool  (photo credit: AP [file])
Ahmadinejad is so cool
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that the world would witness the destruction of Israel soon, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Ahmadinejad said last summer's war between Israel and Hizbullah in Lebanon showed "for the first time hegemony of the occupier regime (Israel) collapsed and that pushed the button counting the days until the destruction of Zionist regime," IRNA quoted him as saying. "God willing, in the near future we will witness the destruction of the corrupt occupier regime," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying during a speech to foreign guests who attended ceremonies marking the 18th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who is known as the father of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
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Embattled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has lost public support after Israel failed to achieve its goals during last summer's 34-day war with Hizbullah in Lebanon - freeing two captured soldiers and crushing the group. The war was sparked after two IDF soldiers were kidnapped by Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hizbullah gunmen in a cross-border raid. The fighting ended with a UN-brokered cease-fire that called for deployment of UN peacekeepers and Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon along the border with Israel. Ahmadinejad has made anti-Israel comments in the past. In October 2005, he caused outrage in the West when he said in a speech that Israel's "Zionist regime should be wiped off the map." His supporters have argued Ahmadinejad's words were mistranslated and should have been better translated as "vanish from the pages of time" - implying Israel would vanish on its own rather than be destroyed.