Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Hizbullah terror group, said on Monday that Hamas recorded a “huge achievement” in the deal it made with Israel to release Gilad Shalit.
In an interview with the Hizbullah’s Al-Manar television network, Nasrallah praised Hamas for being able to keep Shalit alive and well-hidden in Gaza for so long.
“Until now Israel does not know where Gilad Shalit was held,” he said, echoing comments made on Sunday by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
“We see the Shalit deal as an absolute victory,” Nasrallah added. “Keeping him in good condition for five years is an accomplishment.”
Last week, Israel released 477 terrorists in exchange for Shalit. Another 550 terrorists will soon be released in the second phase of the deal.
In the interview, Nasrallah also took credit for being the person who led Hamas to agree to the prisoner swap deal, after Hamas rejected the deal.
“I’m one of the people who encouraged Hamas to bring the Shalit deal to an end,” he claimed, stressing that Shalit was brought back not by a siege or war but through an exchange of prisoners. “This is the idea of resistance,” he declared. “Netanyahu surrendered to the will of the resistance.”
Nasrallah also addressed the situation in Syria, saying President Bashar Assad’s regime is largely “out of the danger zone” despite the seven-month-old uprising against him.
“Is Syria out of danger? We can say, to a very large extent, yes,” Nasrallah said, adding that Assad has significant support in Syria.
The Hizbullah leader also claimed that the numbers of protesters in Syria was “at its lowest” and predicted the country will overcome the external pressures. He added that any NATO-style military action against Syria was far-fetched due to worries that it would lead to a regional war that may affect Israel.