Hezbollah threatens to kill ‘thousands of Israelis’ if attacked
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned on Friday that his Lebanese Shiite militia would make lives of Israelis “a living hell” if it is attacked, threatening to kill tens of thousands of Israelis by striking specific targets in Israel with what it described as precision-guided rockets.
“There are targets in occupied Palestine (Israel) which could be targeted by a small number of missiles,” Nasrallah said.
“If we are forced to use them to protect our people and our country, we will not hesitate to do so... and that will turn the lives of hundreds of thousands of Zionists into a living hell,” he said in a speech marking Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day.
Nasrallah warned of “tens of thousands of deaths, and not just 300 to 500 dead,” adding that Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria, had fixed its targets.
Israel, the only Middle East country outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has never confirmed or denied having nuclear weapons.
“Hitting these targets with a small number of rockets will turn ... the lives of hundreds of thousands of Zionists to real hell, and we can talk about tens of thousands of dead,” said Nasrallah.
Nasrallah was speaking on the occasion of Jerusalem Day, marked each year on the last Friday of Ramadan in accordance with a tradition established by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late supreme leader of Iran.
In case of any Israeli attack on Iran over its controversial nuclear program, “the response will be enormous,” he warned. Any such action would present the Islamic republic with “the opportunity is has been dreaming of” since it was founded in 1979.
Israel and Lebanon are officially in a state of war, and the Jewish state fought a devastating war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.
Last month, Israel accused Iran and Hezbollah of planning attacks in “over 20 countries” in remarks just days after a deadly attack in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and their local bus driver.
Iran denied the charges but Hezbollah refused to comment.
Hezbollah follows the example of its backer in marking Quds Day, a show of support for the Palestinians over the disputed holy city of Jerusalem.
“I tell the Israelis that you have a number of targets, not a large number ... that can be hit with precision rockets ... which we have,” Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said in a broadcast speech.
He said he would not name the targets and did not say whether the rockets were newly acquired weapons.
Nasrallah said his group could strike a limited number of targets in Israel which if hit would lead to mass casualties - a possible reference to Israeli nuclear facilities, though he said he did not spell out what he meant.
Iran calls Israel “cancerous tumour”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told an annual anti-Israel protest in Tehran on Friday that the Jewish state was a “cancerous tumour” that will soon be excised, drawing a strong U.S. rebuke.
Ahmadinejad’s diatribe against Israel in his Quds (Jerusalem) Day address was the latest in a long line to have drawn criticism from Western governments.
“The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumour,” he said.
“The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land.... A new Middle East will definitely be formed. With the grace of God and help of the nations, in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists,” he said.
The diatribe took place amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.
Iran, which is suffering under severe Western sanctions, denies its nuclear program is anything but peaceful. Its military has warned it will destroy Israel if it attacks.
“They (the Israelis) know very well they don’t have the ability” to successfully attack Iran, foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
“If they make a mistake, our nation’s reaction will lead to the end of the Zionist regime,” he said.