Hizballah’s No. 2: War not over, more Israeli soldiers may be abducted
Sheikh Naim Kassem, deputy secretary-general of Hizballah, said Saturday, July 19, that abductions of more Israeli soldiers may not be ruled out “in order to achieve the organization’s goals.” He declared that his pro-Iranian Shiite group remained at war with Israel.
His statement to the Qatari Al-Arab paper was at variance with the tenor of the speech his boss, Hassan Nasrallah, made in Beirut three days ago, after completing a bodies-for-prisoner exchange with Israel.
The war would go on as long Israel “occupies the Shaba Farms, the village of Ghajar and the Kfar Shuba hills [Mt. Dov on the Hermon],” said Kassem.
Regarding future kidnaps of Israeli soldiers, he said “I won’t speak about this issue because it has to do with military activity in the struggle with Israel and with the question of whether this confrontation will demand such an action. These are details which will become known in the future.”
Hizballah had yet to exact revenge for the assassination of military commander Imad Mughnyieh in February, he said.
The tenor of Hassan Nassrallah’s speech in Beirut, after trading the remains of two kidnapped Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser for five Hizballah prisoners, was different. He stressed the importance of inter-factional dialogue in Lebanon as his organization’s first priority.
This reflected Tehran’s current strategy of diplomatic engagement with Washington, whereas his deputy Kassem spoke on Saturday in bellicose terms of continuing the war with Israel, more in keeping with the Hizballah’s war preparations.
On July 13, debkafile‘s military sources disclosed that Hizballah had commandeered the strategic Mt. Sannine peak in central Lebanon. Under the command of Iranian officers, it installed there anti-air and radar equipment for shooting down Israeli jets, as well as C-802 shore-to-sea missiles along the coast for attacking Israeli warships.
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