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Nasrallah Says Hezbollah Not Looking for a War With Israel

Hezbollah 'stronger than ever before' - but not looking for another war with Israel; Nasrallah also defends Syria role.
By Ari Soffer and Uzi Baruch
First Publish: 3/29/2014, 9:20 PM

Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah
Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah
AFP photo

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said the Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorist group was not looking to start a war with Israel, despite recent clashes along Israel's northern border.

In a televised speech marking the official opening of a Culture and Literature club in the southern town of Ainata, Nasrallah said that Hezbollah - whose military strength is said to surpass that of the Lebanese army - was stronger and better prepared for a confrontation with the IDF than it was during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

That being said, he said he was not looking to trigger another war with Israel.

"We will not initiate a war, nor are we interested in a war, but if anyone in Israel is thinking about initiating an attack against Lebanon, our forces are stronger, and our response will be much stronger and more painful than it was during the Second Lebanon War," he said.

Despite that fact, he stressed that Hezbollah would still continue the "path of resistance" - a euphemism for terrorism against Israeli and Jewish interests - threatening that "Lebanon has enough wood for the coffins of Israeli soldiers."

His comments come amid a marked increase in tension along Israel's northern borders with both Lebanon and Syria. The latest clashes saw IDF shoot dead two would-be terrorists from Syria attempting to infiltrate the border on Friday night.

The Hezbollah chief also addressed the Shia Islamist group's role in the Syrian civil war, where it has been widely pilloried for supporting the Assad regime and accused of war crimes against Sunni rebels and civilians.

Hezbollah's presence in Syria was legitimate as it had received the government's approval, he said, and because it was seeking to defend the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine - revered by Shias but viewed by Sunni Islamists as a heretical shrine.

"We did not violate Syria's sovereignty. We went in after receiving the Syrian cabinet's approval," Nasrallah claimed, according to Naharnet

"But today, there is a nation preparing to enter the country and violate its sovereignty. and it is Turkey, to defend a shrine that is not even famous," he shot continued, referring to a leaked audio tape, purported to be a recording of senior Turkish officials describing plans for military intervention in Syria to protect the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire