Speaking to hundreds of supporters via video link, Hezbollah’s leader warned Israel Saturday not to attack Lebanon, saying Hezbollah’s response will be harsh and that it doesn’t need weapons from its allies, Iran and Syria.
Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has refused to comment on a Bulgarian report that said members of the Lebanese militant group carried out an attack that killed five Israeli tourists in the European nation.
Nasrallah said the “issue is being followed calmly and carefully,” the Associated Press quoted him as saying.
The July 18 bombing killed the five Israelis as well as a Bulgarian bus driver and the suspected bomber at the airport in the Black Sea resort of Burgas.
Three men are suspected in the attack, including the bomber.
The latter’s identity has not been established. The names of the two other suspects, believed to still be alive, have not been made public.
Hezbollah doesn’t need Iranian weapons
Meanwhile, Nasrallah said that his group does not need support from allies in Syria or Iran for any future battle against Israel, and that the Jewish state knows that.
Nasrallah’s comments, during a speech from an undisclosed location, are the closest thing yet to a response to allegations that Israeli jets were targeting a Syrian weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah during a strike near Damascus on Jan 30.
World powers fear that as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad loses control during a 23-month-old civil war, militant groups such as Hezbollah or Syrian rebels could acquire arms to use against Israel, including chemical weapons.
But Nasrallah, a close ally of Assad, said that Hezbollah is prepared for a future fight against its southern neighbor Israel, with which it fought a 34-day war in 2006.
“Everything we need for the next battle we have in Lebanon and we keep in Lebanon," Reuters quoted him as saying. "We do not need to take anything, not from Syria nor Iran.”
Damascus has denied assertions by diplomats, Syrian rebels and security sources that Syrian weapons were to be sent to Hezbollah. It said the Israeli air strike hit the Jamraya military research complex on the northwestern fringes of Damascus, 8 miles (13 km) from the border with Lebanon.
Syrian television broadcast what it said was footage from the Jamraya base showing extensive damage to buildings and several heavy military vehicles that appeared capable of carrying missiles.
Israel has maintained official silence about the raid. But on Feb. 3 Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the attack showed Israel was serious about preventing the flow of heavy weapons into Lebanon, appearing to acknowledge for the first time that the Jewish state was behind the strike.