Hizbullah: We were surprised by Israel's response to kidnapping
Deputy secretary general of Hizbullah, Sheikh Naim Kassem, says that organization surprised by strength and duration of Israeli response to kidnapping of two soldiers on July 12. Kassem also says organization does not intend to disarm, but to maintain weapons clandestinely
Deputy secretary general of Hizbullah, Sheikh Naim Kassem admitted that Hizbullah was surprised by Israel's response to the kidnapping of the two IDF soldiers. In an interview with the Lebanese newspaper an-Nahar, Kassem said that Hizbullah expected a much shorter, more inferior response.
"We expected Israel's response to the taking hostage of the two soldiers to be at most a day or two of shelling or a few limited attacks of specific places, and that the response wouldn't last more than three days and would cause only limited damage," said Kassem.
"I don't hide it that we estimated that Israel would one day want to attack Lebanon and that it would be in the framework of an American-Israeli plan, but we didn't expect such a thing to happen at this time. From information we received two days after the start of the Israeli offensive, it became clear that Israel planned with the US to open an offensive this upcoming September of October, and this information was leaked to a number of American media outlets," said Kassem.
Similar statements were heard from the secretary general of Hizbullah, Hassan Nasrallah, who claimed in one of his speeches during the fighting that Israel planned with the US a comprehensive offensive for either September or October in any case. Therefore, he claims, responsibility for the outbreak of fighting does not fall on Hizbullah.
'We didn't expect aggression that would lead to such destruction'Kassem added that after the war started, it became clear to the enemy that it was not ready for a war of such scope despite American pressure to continue the offensive: "We didn't estimate that this is how it would be at this time, and in this scope, and when the aggression started, we didn't expect it to be carried out in such an abominable manner of hysterical destruction. In the last days, the enemy went into a military hysteria that we didn't expect."
In another context, Kassem said that his organization does not intend to disarm in southern Lebanon in accordance with UN Resolution 1701, but only to avoid openly displaying its weapons in the southern region.
"In regards to everything surrounding the issue of weapons, we have concluded with the government and the world powers that this is an internal issue that will be discussed in the appropriate place. Resolution 1701 has nothing to do with the weapons issue. It only deals with one issue – that the weapons won't be openly displayed in the region in which foreign forces are deployed to help the Lebanese army, namely south of the Litani. This is what we have committed to and we are coordinating the details with the government and the army."