Lebanon’s Hezbollah says it won’t give up its rockets

November 10, 2018
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Supporter of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group listen to a speech of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, via a video link, during a rally marking Hezbollah Martyr's Day, in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

BEIRUT (AP) — The head of Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah said his group will not be compelled by threats or sanctions to give up its rocket a capability, urging his government in comments Saturday to contend with the diplomatic pressure it faces.

Hassan Nasrallah said succumbing to diplomatic pressure would allow Israel to attack Lebanon at will.

Nasrallah spoke to supporters in Beirut’s southern district via video link on “Martyrs’ Day,” commemorating the group’s fighters in combat.

“Today, on martyr’s day, I want to reaffirm that we are holding on to the strength of Lebanon, which lies in the golden equation: the army, the people and the resistance. We are holding on to the weapons of the resistance and we are holding on to all the rockets of the resistance,” Nasrallah said.

Neither sanctions nor threats would change this, he said.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating monthlong war in 2006, which ended in a stalemate.

Since then, Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal that is believed to include well over 100,000 missiles and rockets, which Israel considers an existential threat.

“If we have to sell our homes to protect these rocket capabilities in the hands of the resistance, we will do that,” Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah asked his government “to put up with this level of diplomatic pressure because giving in, if we assume it happens, means that Lebanon will be open to an Israeli aggression any time, any moment.”

His comments come after Israeli media reported that the Jewish state had asked the Lebanese government through a mediator to act against Hezbollah’s rocket factories, threatening to take military action.

“Any attack on Lebanon, any airstrike on Lebanon, or any strikes against Lebanon we will respond definitely, definitely, definitely,” he added.

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