Nasrallah warns Israel, Arab mediators

Hizbullah leader warns Israel it can't destroy Hamas and would suffer "defeat" if it attacked Lebanon.

Nasrallah at mike 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 1 [file])
Nasrallah at mike 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 1 [file])
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah stepped up his rhetoric against Israel on Wednesday, warning that it could not destroy Hamas and that it would suffer another "defeat" should it attack Lebanon. In a speech broadcast on Arab media channels, Nasrallah vowed to crush any offensive Israel might launch against Hizbullah. He also chastised Arab leaders for trying to mediate a truce between Hamas and Israel rather than siding with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Israel has warned Hizbullah against igniting a second front, saying it would retaliate massively. Nasrallah described the outcome of the Second Lebanon War, fought over 34 days between Israel and Hizbullah in the summer of 2006, as a "divine victory." He has been in hiding since the end of the war for fear of assassination. Israeli defense officials have hinted in recent months that since Hizbullah has begun consolidating its power as a legitimate part of the Lebanese government, a new conflagration in the North would be more devastating for Lebanon than the last one. Fighting a country is easier for the military than targeting a terror group, IDF brass said after Hizbullah gained power in a US-sponsored agreement that stabilized the Lebanese government and gave Hizbullah more power on key decisions. Brig.- Gen. Michael Ben-Baruch, the IDF's chief artillery officer, told The Jerusalem Post in December that during the war, artillery batteries fired more than 170,000 shells into Lebanon, an average of 5,000 a day. While the number is astounding, he said the artillery fire was misused. "In the last war, we fired to disrupt Hizbullah activity," he explained. "The next time we will fire to destroy." Yaakov Katz contributed to this report