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Nasrallah Threatens to 'Punish' Israel for Death of Top Leader

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warns that his terror group will "punish" Israel for killing top commander Hassan al-Lakiss.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 12/20/2013, 9:01 PM

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah
Flash 90

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned Friday that his terror group will "punish" Israel for the killing of a top leader earlier this month, AFP reports.

"The killers will be punished sooner or later... Those who killed our brothers will not know safety anywhere in the world," Nasrallah said in a televised tribute to Hassan al-Lakiss, whose killing Hezbollah blamed on Israel despite its denials.

"We and the Israelis have accounts that need settling. There are old and new debts between us," he threatened.

Lakiss's "blood has not been spilt in vain... The punishment will come whenever we decide it," Nasrallah added.

"The Israelis think that Hezbollah is busy (with Syria's war) and with the situation in Lebanon... I tell them: 'You're making a mistake,'" he said.

Hezbollah announced on December 4 that Lakiss had been assassinated at his house in the Hadath region, east of Beirut, and was quick to accuse Israel of carrying it out.

Israel denied the allegations, calling it a “Pavlovian response from Hezbollah, which makes automatic accusations (against Israel) before even thinking about what's actually happened.”

Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon later warned Hezbollah against attacking Israel.

Nasrallah said on Friday that Lakiss was "one of the brains of Hezbollah," though he refused to reveal his position in the group. He did, however, say Lakiss’s role was linked to his "work as a jihadist."

"He worked to develop (Hezbollah's) capacity," said Nasrallah, adding he was "a brother and a friend."

The last time a top Hezbollah leader was assassinated was in 2008, when Imad Mughniyeh was killed in a Damascus car bomb blast. Mughniyeh's killing was also blamed on Israel, which denied involvement.

Hezbollah's decision to intervene in Syria has fueled tensions in Lebanon, which is bitterly divided over the war. Its stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut was hit by two car bombings this summer, one of which killed 27 people. Bombings in the mainly Sunni northern city of Tripoli in late August also killed 45 people, and ongoing fighting in that city between rival militias supporting different sides in the Syrian civil war have killed scores more.

More recently, two suicide bombers killed 25 people in an attack on Iran's Beirut embassy.

Nasrallah on Friday renewed his defense of Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian conflict.

"It's an existential battle for Lebanon, Syria and the resistance (against Israel) in the region," he said, according to AFP.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)