Jun 03, 2023

Hezbollah chief lashes back at Israel ‘stone age’ war threats

BEIRUT: The leader of Lebanon’s powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah movement said Monday his group could send Israel “back to the stone age,” in tit-for-tat threats following similar Israeli remarks as border tensions brew.During a tour of the Lebanese-Israeli border last week, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had threatened to send Lebanon “back to the stone age” should Hezbollah escalate tensions at the border.In a televised speech on Monday to mark the anniversary of the latest war in 2006 between Israel and the Lebanese armed group, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said: “You too will be returned back to the stone age... if you go to war with Lebanon.”The comments come amid increased tensions along the border area between Israel and Lebanon, which remain technically at war.South Lebanon, near the Israeli border, is a Hezbollah stronghold and the site of sporadic incidents and skirmishes.Hezbollah is the only Lebanese faction that kept its weapons after the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. It is considered a “terrorist” organization by many Western governments.Nasrallah said it would take “a few high-precision missiles” for his group to destroy targets including “civilian and military airports, air bases, power stations... and the Dimona (nuclear) power station.”If a future conflict “draws in the resistance axis... there will be no such thing called Israel anymore,” he said, referring to Hezbollah’s regional allies including some Palestinian factions and other Iran-backed groups.Nasrallah also urged calm days after a Hezbollah ammunition truck overturned in a town near Beirut, triggering deadly clashes between Christian residents and members of the Shiite Muslim group.One resident of Kahale and one Hezbollah member were killed by gunfire.Nasrallah blamed unnamed politicians for stoking intercommunal tensions and “driving the country toward civil war.”“Today my call is a call for reason,” he said addressing Lebanon’s Christian community.“The interest of Lebanon, the Lebanese people and the resistance is for calm to prevail in Lebanon.”The Lebanese army said it had seized the munitions from the truck after the incident in Kahale, a town in the mountains east of the Lebanese capital, on the road linking it to the Bekaa Valley bordering Syria.