AP NEWS
Related topics

Hezbollah Chief Vows More Suicide Bombings Against Israel

March 21, 1996

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Hezbollah guerrillas will carry out more suicide bombings to force Israeli troops from southern Lebanon, the leader of the Iranian-backed group said today.

``There are many brothers in the resistance who are yearning and competing to join the party’s human bombs battalion,″ Sheik Hassan Nasrallah told a crowded news conference in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

Nasrallah spoke a day after a Hezbollah suicide bomber charged into an Israeli army convoy inside the Israeli-held enclave and blew himself up, killing an Israeli captain. He identified the bomber as 20-year-old Ali Mounif Ashmar.

He refused to say how many guerrillas from the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah are trained as suicide bombers.

When asked whether Hezbollah planned to carry out another suicide bombing soon, he replied: ``We haven’t stopped the resistance.″

Security was tight at the hour-long news conference. Journalists were told to gather in one office but were later taken in vans, windows covered with thick black cloth, to an underground conference hall in another neighborhood in a densely populated Shiite area.

Hezbollah men in civilian clothes scanned video equipment, cameras and tape recorders.

Nasrallah said Hezbollah wouldn’t end its guerrilla war until Israel leaves the enclave it carved out in 1985 to curb guerrilla raids on its northern communities.

``The only solution (in the south) is the elimination of the occupation,″ he said. ``As long as the occupation persists, we’ll continue the resistance.″

Hezbollah has stepped up its attacks on Israeli troops since Palestinian militants launched a wave of suicide bombings in Israel four weeks ago.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Shimon Peres of Israel warned that guerrillas in Lebanon would pay for the increasing attacks, which have killed six Isareli soldiers and wounded more than 20 in the past three weeks.