February 17, 2010
Hezbollah leader threatens to attack Tel Aviv in future conflict; says group still seeks to avenge Mughniyeh.Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah threatened Tuesday that if Israel attacks Beirut in the future, Hezbollah will attack Tel Aviv. “If you hit Rafik al-Hariri international airport in Beirut, we will hit Ben-Gurion airport in Tel Aviv,” Nasrallah told thousands of his followers at a ceremony to mark the two-year anniversary of the death of Hezbollah’s military leader Imad Mughaniyeh. “If you hit our ports, we will bomb your ports, and if you hit our oil refineries, we will bomb your oil refineries.” “It is untrue that we are giving Israel an excuse to launch an aggression on Lebanon. Israel does not need an excuse, and if it needs an excuse it creates one,” he said. “If Israel strikes Dahiyeh, we will strike Tel Aviv.” Dahiyeh is a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut’s southern suburbs. “They think that they can demolish Dahiyeh’s buildings as we barely ‘puncture their walls.’ But I tell them today: You destroy a Dahiyeh building and we will destroy buildings in Tel Aviv,” Nasrallah said as his followers chanted “God bless Nasrallah”. Nasrallah added that Hezbollah was still seeking to avenge the death of Mughniyeh. Mughniyeh was killed in a February 2008 car bombing in Damascus and Hezbollah holds Israel responsible for his death. Nasrallah described the recent Israeli threats against Lebanon and Syria as “psychological warfare” to frighten the Lebanese people and government and to thwart the resistance from boosting its strength. “We do not want war, but we are concerned with defending our people’s dignity,” he said Nasrallah assured his followers that Israel cannot wage a new war against Lebanon. “Israel has been living in a state of crisis on the strategic level since the July 2006 and Gaza wars. It can neither impose peace based on its conditions nor wage war,” he said. Israel launched a 33-day war against Lebanon in July 2006, after Hezbollah militants snatched two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border attack.