Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday pledged that his group would respond to any Israeli airstrike on Lebanon, as he described the probe into the Beirut port blast as “politicized and selective.”
“We will certainly respond to any Israeli airstrike, but in an appropriate and proportionate manner, because we want to protect our country,” Nasrallah said in a televised address marking the 2006 war with Israel.
“What happened days ago was very dangerous and a development that did not happen for 15 years,” Nasrallah noted, referring to Israel’s two airstrikes on open areas in south Lebanon on Thursday.
“Yesterday’s operation was aimed at consolidating the equation of deterrence,” Nasrallah said of Hizbullah’s rocket attack on the occupied Shebaa Farms on Friday, which also targeted open territory.
“It was necessary for the response to the Israeli airstrike to be quick, or else it would have lost its value,” he added.
Responding to criticism inside Lebanon, Nasrallah stressed that Hizbullah’s rocket attack was “directly linked to the Israeli airstrikes” and not to any regional issue.
“Do not bet on the Lebanese disagreement over the resistance, because it is not new,” Nasrallah added, addressing Israel.
“Hizbullah is not preoccupied with the domestic crises,” he emphasized.
He added: “We are not seeking a war but we are ready for it and we do not fear it.”
Threatening that the group “will not limit” any future response to the Shebaa Farms, Hizbullah’s leader pointed out that yesterday’s operation was not in response to Israel’s killing of two of the group’s members in recent months.
Commenting on the controversy over the interception of the Hizbullah rocket launcher and the fighters who carried out the attack during their passage in the Hasbaya town of Shwayya, Nasrallah said: “I tell the residents of the non-Shiite villages that we had to use that area in order to target (a specific area of the Shebaa Farms).”
“What was worse than the Shwayya incident was the filming of the incident and the distribution of the footage, which inflamed sentiments, and I was personally dismayed,” he added.
The video that was later released by Hizbullah “of the same rocket launcher proved that it fired from a far away place,” Nasrallah said.
“Any response against any innocent person is condemned,” he added, referring to sectarian incidents that followed the Shwayya altercation.
“What happened in Shwayya was very, very bad,” he said.
Turning to the Beirut port blast case, Nasrallah added: “I honestly tell the martyrs’ families that the probe in the port case is politicized and selective and we won’t accept that anyone be persecuted.”
“I call on the judiciary to release the results of the technical investigation,” he reiterated.
“Hizbullah is not afraid of the judicial investigation, seeing as it did not bring the ammonium nitrate and had nothing to do with it. We are afraid of political exploitation,” Nasrallah said.
He added that the judiciary “should say who brought the nitrates,” accusing Judge Tarek al-Bitar of selectivity in his interrogations and summonings.