Hezbollah Cancels Annual Rally in Honor of Dead Leaders
The Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group is holding off on its annual rally to mark the deaths of three of its senior commanders, including Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in Damascus in 2008.
The group said on Thursday its leader will give an annual speech later this week but it did not announce the usual public rally that accompanies it, reported The Associated Press (AP).
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah normally holds a rally every year in mid-February marking the death of three of the group's leaders, the report noted.
Hezbollah did not give a reason for not announcing the annual rally that is usually attended by hundreds of supporters in their stronghold south of Beirut.
The cancellation appears to be related to a wave of bombings in Hezbollah's strongholds around Lebanon that left scores of people dead over the past months.
Since Hezbollah joined the fighting in neighboring Syria alongside President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, its strongholds in Lebanon have been the targets of repeated attacks.
The most recent attack occurred earlier this month in the Lebanese capital, killing five people.
In November of last year Sunni Islamists claimed a high-profile attack on the embassy of Iran, key backers of both Hezbollah and Bashar al-Assad. That attack left 23 people dead, including the cultural attaché of the embassy Ebrahim al-Ansari.
Nasrallah has promised that his group will be wherever is needed in Syria. His deputy, Naim Qassem, made similar remarks this week, declaring, "We will continue our work and remain in the field committed to our political stances. We will remain fighting where we are fighting. We are a resistance wherever we are: a resistance against Israel and its agents and a resistance fighting in Syria in defense of the resistance."
Mughniyeh’s death in a car-bomb attack in Damascus in February of 2008 has been blamed on Israel, and Hezbollah has promised to avenge his death.
Israel has never confirmed or denied whether it had anything to do with Mughniyeh’s death, but a Lebanese daily last year presented what it claimed was a detailed account of his death and fingered the Mossad for it.
In January, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Lebanon and laid a wreath at the tomb of Mughniyeh, eliciting a condemnation from the United States.