Hezbollah holds 'Jihad tours' for students
Militants teach students to fire rockets after tour of south Lebanon. 'It's like Disneyland,' says one
Just days before the tenth anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Hezbollah hosted hundreds of students at what it called 'The Land of Islamic Resistance'.
For many of the Muslim and Christian young people it was the first visit to southern Lebanon. "We want our students, whether they are Hezbollah members, supporters or rivals, to see the land that Israel occupied for 22 years," said group member Mohammad Taleb.
Lessons on rocket, missile fire (Photo: AFP)
"We want young people to know of the achievements made by the resistance and show them how wrong Israeli occupation is. This land was liberated by thousands of resistance fighters who fought every day in order to return the land to their people."
Many of the students were wide-eyed at a meeting with Hezbollah's militants. "It was like being in a movie," said Grace, a Christian Lebanese student. "I respect these young men, who liberated my land. I don't see them as terrorists, as the West describes them."
The militants, on their side, showed their guests how to fire rockets and anti-aircraft missiles. "These young people give us strength," said one gunman after the demonstration.
The students also toured the area of the Beaufort, and planted a Hezbollah flag near the village of Maroun al-Ras, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Second Lebanon War.
"It's surreal," said a French student who took part in the tour. "It's like Disneyland. I never expected to see such things."
Responding to claims that Syria had provided the group with Scud missiles, Taleb was unapologetic and said Hezbollah would never lay down its arms. "We will keep our weapons because they will help us deal with Israel if it attacks Lebanon again," he said.