In an admission which underscores previous statements made by Hizbullah, leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said that his organization suffered from an "intelligence failure" regarding the size and timing of an Israeli response in last summer's war. "Frankly, we were surprised by the size and strength of the response," Nasrallah told Professor Sa'ad A-Din Avrahim, the director of an Egyptian think tank, in an interview which was published Saturday in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai Al-aam. "I don't hide the fact that we expected Israel at some point to attackâ€¦but the information we had did not suggest they would choose to attack when they did." On the topic of kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, Nasrallah told Avrahim that the organization chose to conduct the action as part of an ongoing struggle against the continued incarceration of Lebanese prisoners inside Israeli jails, and the continued Israeli occupation of Shaba Farms. Moving to the issue of Iran and Syria, Nasrallah emphasized the integral role which both states have played in strengthening and assisting the guerilla organization. "Iran assists the organization with money, weapons, and training, motivated by a religious fraternity and ethnic solidarity," Nasrallah said. "And the help is funneled through Syria, and everybody knows it." The Hizbullah leader added that his organization is ready to accept assistance from any Arab or Islamic party, like Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Responding to accusations that his organization acts as "a state within a state," Nasrallah said that the current Lebanese government has yet to fulfill its obligation of securing the release of Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails, and getting Israeli-occupied land back. Accordingly, Nasrallah said that the people, or part of the people, are free to try and realize those goals by themselves.