Tags: ml | lebanon | hezbollah

Hezbollah to Continue Arming to Fight Israel

Monday, 30 Nov 2009 01:51 PM

 

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BEIRUT -- Hezbollah's leader said Monday that the Lebanese militant group will improve its weapons capabilities to face off any Israeli threat and that armed struggle was the only way to regain Arab lands captured by the Jewish state.

Hassan Nasrallah's remarks signaled the group has no intention of meeting a United Nations resolution requiring it to give up its weapons. That position that has generated division among the country's fractious political groups as well as concern in Israel, which says it is preparing to deploy a defense system to shoot down rockets from Lebanon.

Nasrallah gave no details on the weapons plans, but Hezbollah has said it has tens of thousands of rockets.

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Israel's military says that since its 2006 war with the group, Hezbollah has tripled its prewar arsenal to more than 40,000 rockets, some of which can strike virtually anywhere in Israel _ a dramatic improvement over the short-range missiles fired in 2006.

Nasrallah said the buildup was necessary.

"The continuation of Israeli threats against Lebanon ... force the resistance to seek more power in order to improve its capabilities," Nasrallah told reporters via video link from a secret location. He has rarely appeared in public since the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, fearing Israeli assassination.

His comments came during a news conference to announce the group's new political manifesto, the second since Hezbollah was founded in 1982 to fight Israel's invading military.

While the group remains determinedly anti-Israel, its manifesto showed some signs of moderation on the Lebanese political scene, where Hezbollah holds sway with two members in the Cabinet and 11 or parliament's 128 seats.

The Shiite Muslim group's first manifesto in 1985 called for establishing an Islamic state in Lebanon, but the new manifesto did not mention an Islamic state and underscored the importance of coexistence among Lebanon's 18 religious sects.

The U.N. resolution that ended the 2006 war calls on the group to disarm, but Hezbollah says it must keep its weapons to fight off any Israeli threat in the future.

Israel's defense industry said last week it is close to deploying a system known as the Iron Dome that will use cameras and radar to track incoming rockets and shoot them down within seconds of their launch.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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