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Nasrallah. First public appearance in more than a year
Photo: AFP
Beirut rally
Photo: Reuters
Nasrallah: We have Israelis' body parts
Hizbullah leader appears in public for first time in more than a year to attend Shiite religious event in Lebanese capital. In fiery speech he says his group has 'heads' and 'body parts' of Israeli soldiers, as well as 'nearly intact cadaver'

Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said in a fiery speech on Saturday that his group had the "heads" and "body parts" of Israeli soldiers, as well as "a nearly intact cadaver".

 

Nasrallah, one of Israel's most wanted men, appeared in public for the first time in more than a year to attend a Shiite religious event in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Saturday.

 

"We have the heads, the hands, the feet and even a nearly intact cadaver from the head down to the pelvis," he said.

 

"The Israeli army left behind the remains of the bodies of a large number of soldiers," said Nasrallah.

 

Meanwhile, relatives of abducted Israeli soldiers Eldad Regav and Ehud Goldwasser chose not to respond to Nasrallah's latest message. Regev's brother, Eyal, said that the statements made by the Hizbullah leader do not pertain to the two abducted soldiers, so there was no point in responding to them.

 

Other family members noted that Nasrallah made similar comments in the past. "It's unclear what he's talking about," one relative said.

  

Nasrallah addressed what he viewed as a new sensitive point – the farmers, fishermen and other Lebanese, who are "being threatened by Israel".

 

"We won't be able to keep silent for long over the fact that the farmers, the fellahs, the fishermen and the shepherds are in danger, and under the UN force's eyes. I warn them, and they know we are serious.

 

"If Israel launches a new war against Lebanon, we promise them a war which will change battle and the fate of the entire region, God willing."

 

He went on to say that "Israel is practicing foot-dragging because it is weak, humiliated and cannot provide the natural and human price for it."


Nasrallah supporters in Beirut (Photo: Reuters)

 

Turning to the Israeli public, the Hizbullah leader said, "Oh, Zionists your army is lying to you... Your army has left the body parts of your soldiers in our villages and fields.

 

"Our mujahideen used to fight these Zionists, killing them and collecting their body parts. I am not talking about regular body parts. I tell the Israelis, we have the heads of your soldiers, we have hands, we have legs."

 

Surrounded by dozens of bodyguards, Nasrallah walked through the Hizbullah stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut toward a stadium where he was to deliver a speech commemorating Ashura, Shiite Islam's holiest day.

 

Public enemy No. 1

Tens of thousands of supporters cheered him on as he walked by and chanted "God, protect Nasrallah," and "Death to America, Death to Israel" as they beat their chests and backs in a ritual commemorating the killing of Imam Hussein by armies of the Sunni caliph Yazid in 680.

 

Hizbullah's al-Manar television station said one million people had turned out for the event.

 

Nasrallah has been Israel's public enemy number one since his Iranian- and Syrian-backed Shiite militant group fought a deadly month-long war against the Jewish state in the summer of 2006.

 

Nasrallah's last public appearance was at a massive "victory" rally in the Shiite suburbs in September 2006 in the wake of the war against Israel during which he went into hiding.

 

Although he has made a number of speeches in the past year, they were always broadcast on giant screens in the southern suburbs or southern Lebanon with Nasrallah speaking from a secret location.

 

Israel's war with Hizbullah, which followed Hizbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers, resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 civilians in Lebanon, a third of them children, as well as 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

 

The Jewish state failed in both its stated aims for launching the war: To stop rocket fire on northern Israel and to recover the two soldiers.

 

Reuters and Ahiya Raved contributed to this report

 


First published: 19.01.08, 12:37
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