Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened on Tuesday to fire missiles at the ammonia plant in Haifa, which he claimed would cause an explosion similar to that of a nuclear bomb.
Nasrallah, speaking from his bunker in an undisclosed location, has his speech broadcasted on screens across the terror organization's Dahiyah stronghold in south Beirut to mark "The Loyalty to Martyrs and Leaders" day.
Amongst those honored during the ceremony were several previous Hezbollah leaders, including Abbas Musawi, who was killed 24 years ago, and former head of military operations Imad Mughniyeh,
assassinated in 2008. Tuesday marks the eighth year anniversary of Mughniyeh's death, for which the terrorist group blames Israel. This year's ceremony was held under the slogan "the resistance isn't defeated."
Hassan Nasrallah during his speech
Nasrallah also had message for IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, "its simple mathematics. A few missiles on a few ammonium plants equals the same amount of death as an atomic bomb...you can destroy Lebanon and Dahiyeh. You have the strongest airforce, you have missiles, and you have other means by which to do it. But we can do the same thing to you (Israel) with only a few missiles aimed at a few amonium plants."
"Haifa is just one of many examples," he said. "The leaders of Israel understand that the resistance (Hezbollah) has the ability to cover the entirety of occupied Palestine with missiles. We must keep this capability because it acts as a deterrent for the Third Lebanon War. As I said to you on the anniversary in memory of the victims in Qunietra, we do not seek war nor do we want war. The strategy of the resistance is not to start wars of this type, but we must be prepared for war in order to deter against it, in order to be able to deal and conquer it."
Nasrallah then quoted an Israeli expert saying that the residents of Haifa are afraid of a deadly attack on the ammonia plant which contains more that 15,000 tons of gas. An explosion there could kill hundreds of thousands of people in the area. The same expert compared the hypothetical attack to a "nuclear bomb."
"The residents of Haifa are worried about a deadly attack, with or without a war. They worry in any case. They are afraid of a large, deadly attack on the ammonia plants. These plants are in Haifa, and possibly even beyond the city. The tanks in the ammonia production facility contain 15 thousand tons of gas which will cause the deaths of tens of thousands."
The same Israeli expert, according to Nasrallah, criticized the Israeli government by putting the lives of 800,000 people in danger. "Instead of moving the factories, they have instead put in even more sensitive infrastructure."
Ammonia plant in Haifa (Photo:Gil Nachshon)
Nasrallah then charged that the Israel's psychological war regarding the Second Lebanon War was not great, saying "We will not withdraw, we will not surrender, and we will not fail. We will continue with our preparations, increasing by orders of magnitude our manpower capabilities and our weapons capabilities."
Nasrallah then went on to analyze Israeli claims that they won the Second Lebanon War, and described why Hezbollah will win the third one.
"The Israelis, after the Second Lebanon War, only go to war when they are convinced they can win … They are unable to take Tel Aviv being bombarded for months at a time," he said.
The Hezbollah leader also alleged that Israel was involved in the war in Syria. "Israel, as a participant in this war, has failed. Israel's goal was to topple the Assad regime, and this goal has not come to fruition."
He continued, "there is a consensus in Israel that any option is better than Assad." The Hezbollah leader went on to talk about the Israeli, Turkish, and Saudi consensus that they are not ready to permit the Assad regime to stay.
Haifa industrial area (Photo: Gil Nachshon)
Afterwards, he spoke about a new trend in Israel and in other forums that argues against letting the Assad regime fall, and instead "divide Syria into four countries: an Allawite country, Sunni country, Druze country, and a Kurdish country."
After the Second Lebanon War, the Haifa municipality ordered a report from a British company, in order to mitigate the risks to the ammonia plant. The report revealed that in the event of a hit on the ammonia plant, it will release a cloud ten miles in diameter, and will cover all of Haifa and Acre.
"Researchers who conducted the studies in the 1990's concluded that there could be 70,000 casualties," said professor Amos Natua from the Technion. "The State Comptroller released a statement in 2003 that the number will likely be much higher."
The Haifa municipality issued a response to the speech saying "We don't believe that we should run the country based on Nasrallah's arrogant speeches, but we're happy that he put this worrying and important issue on the agenda- even if it is coming from a frightened man who's been hiding in a bunker for the last several years."