Lebanon: Nasrallah threatens 'new war' against Israel over Gaza

Beirut, 7 Jan. (AKI) - The leader of Lebanon' s militant Shia group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, has threatened a "new war" against Israel in retaliation for its offensive in the Gaza Strip. In a speech delivered in Beirut on Wednesday, the Lebanese cleric also attacked Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for failing to open the Rafah border crossing.

"I say to Israel we are ready for a new war. We are better prepared for any new war than we were in 2006," said Nasrallah (photo).

"We are not afraid of your planes or your threats we and are ready for any scenario."

He singled out Egypt for particular criticism for failing to take any action against Israel's air and ground attacks that have killed more than 600 people and injured almost 3,000 others.

"I say to Egypt, do you need more than 650 dead before you open the Rafah crossing? Arab countries must remain united with the people of Gaza."

Nasrallah compared the situation in Gaza with the Lebanon war in 2006 and asked all Arab countries not to normalise their relations with Israel. He praised Venezuela's decision to expel the Israeli ambassador in protest.

He also accused the United States of wanting to "eliminate the Palestinian issue completely" and stressed that his movement would continue to support armed resistance against Israel.

"They wanted to destroy us and they did not succeed," he said. "We are here and we are not afraid of your warplanes. We are ready for any eventuality. If you come to our land you Zionists will realise that the war of July 2006 was a joke compared to what awaits you in any new war against us."

The 2006 Lebanon war was a month-long conflict between Hezbollah paramilitary forces and the Israeli military.

The conflict began on 12 July 2006, and continued until a United Nations-brokered ceasefire went into effect on 14 August 2006, but formally ended in September 2006 when Israel lifted its naval blockade of Lebanon.


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