Hizbullah deputy: Mughniyeh revenge legitimate

Sheikh Na'im Kassem says attack will come as a surprise to the Israelis when it happens.

Kassem 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Kassem 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Revenge for the death of Hizbullah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh is a legitimate right of the guerrilla group, and will come as a "surprise to the Israelis" when it happens, Hizbullah deputy secretary-general Sheikh Na'im Kassem warned on Friday. "Revenge is the legitimate right," Kassem told the Hizbullah-affiliated Al-Manar television station during an interview. "Why is Israel allowed to murder and to assassinate and the world looks away?" "For everything there is a time, God willing," he continued. "We won't get into details, but the Israelis will be surprised." During the interview, Kassem was also presented with questions on other issues, including whether Hizbullah's cross-border attack in July 2006 provided Israel an excuse to open the situation into a full-blown war. "We kidnapped the two soldiers in order to release prisoners, and not to provoke a war," Kassem responded. "When we carried out the operation, we didn't think about giving an excuse to Israel or not giving an excuse to Israel, we thought about Israel not releasing elderly prisoners and other prisoners." However, should the situation on the border heat up once again, and war erupts, Kassem warned that Hizbullah was more prepared than ever and Israel would suffer even worse casualties than before. "The next war will be worse than the aggressions of July (a reference to the last war with Israel)," he said. "The mental situation of the Israelis is dejected, and if the Israelis come in they will suffer heavy human losses." When asked if his organization would purposely attack Israeli infrastructure in future conflicts, as was done in the past, Kassem used the opportunity to take another snipe at the Jewish state. "Why should we talk about the destruction of infrastructure?" he asked. "They have no spiritual infrastructure. They are shocked when two people are hurt and 28 suffer shock from a missile attack." "Israel always prefers that the fighting take place out of its territory," Kassem said. "If the fighting is in its territory, you can use pressure and create a balance of fear." Speaking about accusations that Hizbullah is not fulfilling its obligations under the cease-fire agreement and UN resolution 1701, Kassem rejected assertions that his group was to blame. "Israel has flown more than 20 sorties a day from August 14 [2006] until today. We have not violated UN resolution 1701 even once," he said. "Buying weapons, preparation, and training are not connected to 1701. The decision talks only about a ban on armed gunmen south of the Litani River, and in the past two years UNIFIL has not seen one armed gunman."