BEIRUT: Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Wednesday his party was responsible for wounding Israeli soldiers who crossed into Lebanon last week.
“Hezbollah had prior information that two Israeli units of the Golani brigade were planning to infiltrate Lebanon so we planted the explosives,” Nasrallah said, speaking on the seventh anniversary of the end of July-August war between Lebanon and Israel.
He dismissed reports that leftover ordnance was responsible for the incident, adding that Tel Aviv played down its significance.
“The operation was deliberate and not an accident nor was it the result of a landmine left over from the Israeli occupation of Lebanon,” he said.
Speaking during an extensive interview with Al-Mayadeen television, Nasrallah said his party had closely monitored the blast’s location, adding that two Israeli squads of at least a dozen soldiers were involved.
He said two bombs, detonated remotely, wounded four Israeli soldiers. The first blast targeted the forward team while the second was detonated when the second unit approached their comrades.
“We carried out the Labbouneh operation for reasons of defense and the Israeli enemy was surprised by the response,” he said.
According to the Lebanese Army, an Israeli foot patrol crossed 400 meters into Lebanese territory off the border village of Labbouneh on Aug. 7. Caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour filed a complaint about the violation to the United Nations earlier in the day.
Nasrallah vowed his party would take similar actions in the future.
“We’ll confront any entry by Israelis into Lebanese territory that we know of,” he said. “We’ll cut off the feet of those entering our land.”
During the interview, devoted to the 2006 war, Nasrallah said President Bashar Assad had contemplated sending Syrian troops to Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley if the confrontation escalated and threatened Damascus.
Nasrallah said he asked Assad to hold off, saying his party feared a regional war and that he was confident Hezbollah would emerge victorious. Assad, he added, provided his group with Syrian-made rockets and Kornet anti-tank missiles.
“A lot of rockets we used in July were made in Syria and they were excellent rockets,” he said.
The Hezbollah chief said his party didn’t need to import weaponry from its main ally Iran because “we didn’t need any,” as it had enough weapons to carry on fighting for six months.
Nasrallah also took aim at former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who headed the government at the time.
“We didn’t trust Fouad Siniora when it came to the resistance, from the war’s beginning to its end,” he said. Nasrallah alleged that Siniora’s government delayed informing the United Nations that Hezbollah had endorsed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which brokered a cessation of hostilities.
Nasrallah claimed he had in the past turned down offers by the West to abandon its struggle against Israel, naming former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney as one of those who floated such an offer.
Nasrallah said Cheney, through an intermediary posing as a Western journalist, offered Hezbollah a normalization of ties and further incentives if it changed its policy toward Israel. The Hezbollah chief said he rejected the proposal immediately.
Turning to recent events in Lebanon, Nasrallah denied his party played any role in last week’s abduction of two Turkish Airlines pilots in Beirut. “We heard the news just like everyone else did,” he said.