Disappearance of Israel inevitable, says Nasrallah

Hezbollah vows to avenge Mughniah


Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Friday vowed to avenge the death of one of his group's top militants through the destruction of Israel, which he said was destined to disappear.

"The disappearance of Israel is inevitable, it is divine law," said Nasrallah at a ceremony to mourn the death of Hezbollah top commander Imad Mughniah and other militants killed in attacks blamed on Israel.

"The presence of Israel is but temporary and cannot go on in the region," Nasrallah added in comments transmitted via video link to thousands of Hezbollah supporters massed in southern Beirut. "Oh Hajj Imad, I swear by God that your blood will not have been spilled in vain."

Mughniah was killed in a car bombing in Damascus on February 12 in an attack Hezbollah has blamed on Israel.

Although Israel welcomed his death, it has denied any involvement.

Nasrallah said that Mughniah's killing was a clear sign that Israel was preparing a new war against Lebanon but said his troops stood ready for a new "victory".

"We will kill you in the fields, we will kill you in the cities, we will fight you like you have never seen before," said Nasrallah, whose Shiite Muslim group fought a devastating 34-day war with Israel in 2006. "Israel will be left without an army, and without an army Israel cannot exist."

He also questioned why countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and France had upgraded security measures in Lebanon, telling them that his sole enemy was Israel.

"We tell them that they have nothing to fear from us because Israel is our sole enemy," he said.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia this week advised their citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon and France shut down two of its cultural centers in the south and north of the country for security reasons.

Their actions followed Nasrallah's declaration of "open war" on Israel following Mughniah's death.

Lebanon has been mired in its worst political crisis since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.

The country has been without a president since November because of a standoff between the Western-backed ruling majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition backed by Syria and Iran.

So far, 14 attempts to hold a parliament vote to choose a new head of state have been cancelled and the political tensions in recent weeks have occasionally boiled over into street clashes in Beirut.