Hassan Nasrallah
Hassan NasrallahReuters

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah addressed the IDF's operation to destroy the militia's attack tunnels in Israeli territory, the first speech he has given in more than a month.

"Operation Northern Defense has not ended," said Nasrallah. "Although the Israelis have declared its end, the digging continues."

Nasrallah added that he was "surprised" that it took Israel so long to discover the tunnels. "There were tunnels in southern Lebanon and it surprised us that Israel was late in discovering them."

According to Nasrallah, one of the tunnels was dug 13 years ago and some were built before UN Security Council Resolution 1701. "Are you now sure that Netanyahu, [Gadi] Eizenkot and the new IDF Chief of Staff are telling you the truth?" asked the Hezbollah leader.

Nasrallah's interview with the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen television network is the first time he has spoken publically since the IDF destroyed six of his organization's attack tunnels in Operation Northern Defense.

When asked why he kept silent, Nasrallah replied that "we decided not to help Netanyahu and Eisenkot in the media campaign".

Nasrallah's uncharacteristically lengthy silence caused speculation to abound to the resigns behind his reticence. Lebanese media reported several weeks ago that Nasrallah was hospitalized after an apparent heart attack, with some reports claiming he is also fighting cancer.

However, reports that Nasrallah is sick were rejected by Hossein Amirabdollahian, assistant to Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, who called such an assertion the "biggest lie of the new year.”

"Recent claims by Zionists about Seyed Hassan Nasrallah's (secretary-general of Lebanon's Hezbollah) illness & heart attack is the biggest lie of the new year," he tweeted.

Earlier this month, a purported recording of Nasrallah himself was broadcast on the Iranian Al-Alam network, in which Nasrallah is heard denying that his health has deteriorated and calling such reports Israeli "psychological warfare."