Israel and the United States are benefitting from the turmoil in Lebanon, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah claimed on Sunday, according to the Lebanese Daily Star.
Speaking during a televised speech, Nasrallah declared that Hezbollah would continue fighting in Syria despite the wave of car bombings targeting predominantly Shiite areas in Lebanon controlled by the group.
He accused Israel and the U.S. of benefitting from the plots of the takfiri (extremist Sunnis) in the region, reported the Daily Star.
“I will not repeat what I explained before about the reason we went to Syria and why we are staying where we should be,” Nasrallah said in the speech, warning that the takfiri pose a threat to the entire region and that all of Lebanon is a target.
“Lebanon is a target for the takfiri groups. And what adds to it is the American and Israeli penetration of these groups,” he claimed, according to a transcript provided by Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television.
Hezbollah is not threatened by Israel, said Nasrallah.
“If it weren't for the resistance, Israeli wouldn't have pulled out of Lebanon, and the threat of its domination and control would have continued,” he claimed, according to Al-Manar, adding, “Israel still considers the resistance a threat on its projects, and on this anniversary, I repeat that this enemy doesn't terrify us or affect our morale, and it must know that we are in full readiness.”
The Hezbollah chief warned that if extremists gain control of war-torn Syria, the repercussions would be felt throughout the Middle East.
“If these armed groups win, will there be a future for the Future Movement in Lebanon? Will there be a chance for anyone other than [takfiris] in the country?” he said, vowing his group would emerge victorious in the battle against these groups.
“We are convinced that we will win in this battle; it is just a matter of time,” he said, according to the Daily Star.
The Hezbollah head also claimed that Palestinian Arab factions are being “exploited” by groups fighting Hezbollah.
“I tell our Palestinian brothers, it is not enough to issue statements condemning bombings because there are some who are trying to exploit the Palestinians to achieve their goals,” he said.
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."
Nasrallah’s speech on Sunday was made as part of the group’s annual memorial for three of its killed commanders, including Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in Damascus in 2008.
The group, which usually holds a rally every year in mid-February marking the death of the three, announced last week that Nasrallah will give an annual speech but it did not announce the usual public rally that accompanies it.
Hezbollah did not give a reason for not announcing the annual rally, but the cancellation appears to be related to the wave of bombings in Hezbollah's strongholds.