Netanyahu: Trump's Iran sanctions are crippling Hezbollah

PM says Lebanese terror group is in 'distress' due to loss of funding from Iran and 'embarrassed' by demolition of terror tunnels.

David Rosenberg ,

Kobi Richter/TPS

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu mocked Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s threats on Sunday, and said the Shi’ite terror organization is increasingly desperate following the IDF’s successful campaign against Hezbollah’s cross-border terror tunnels and the loss of much of the financial support it had enjoyed from Iran.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu said Nasrallah was “very embarrassed”. Netanyahu credited both the sanctions regime reimposed by the Trump administration on Iran, and the recent IDF campaign against Hezbollah.

“Nasrallah broke his silence yesterday. He is very embarrassed for three reasons: One, because of the great success of our Operation Northern Shield. He and his people put great effort into the surprise weapon of invasive tunnels, including their excavation, in contrast to what he said, in recent years and months. Within six weeks, we completely denied him this weapon.

“Second, Nasrallah is in a predicament due to financial distress. The policy that we pushed of reimposing sanctions on Iran, which was clearly and sharply adopted by President Trump, is striking hard at the sources of financing for Iran and its proxies, especially Hezbollah.

“Third, Nasrallah is in distress due to our determination. Against Nasrallah stands the lethal striking force of the IDF. Believe me; Nasrallah has good reasons not to want to feel the might of our arm."

Netanyahu’s comments came in response to a statement by Nasrallah in which the Hezbollah leader vowed his organization would continue digging terror tunnels into Israel, adding that he was “surprised” it took Israel so long to discover the project.

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

This is the first time Nasrallah has made a public statement since Israel launched its campaign to uproot tunnels from southern Lebanon in December.

The Hezbollah leader’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.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu's comments in Hebrew: