Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim was killed in a car bomb last Friday in Najaf. At least 80 other people also died in the blast

Speaking to about 3,000 Shias who gathered to mourn al-Hakim in the Beirut’s southern suburbs, Nasr Allah said: “The Americans do not want a state in Iraq, they want a splintered Iraq and the Israelis want to crush Iraq.”

"For more than one reason it is in Israel's interests and part of its plan to kill the leaders that present or even might present a danger to Israel," Nasr Allah said.

But the cleric stopped short of blaming either the US or Israel for al-Hakim’s killing.

Nasr Allah, whose Iranian-backed group helped drive Israel out of southern Lebanon in 2000 after a 22-year occupation, said attacks such as al-Hakim's killing or Israeli assassinations of Palestinian leaders would strengthen their resolve.

"In Palestine today, Israel has taken the decision to cross out the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the leaders of the uprising in Palestine," Nasr Allah said.

"But this (Arab) nation, in its cultural, emotional and mental make-up...when it is threatened with death is provoked and when it is killed it awakens and resurges," he said.

Nasr Allah said such an awakening was taking place as a result of the killing of al-Hakim.

"Oh Americans and Zionists, no matter how much of our leaders' blood you spill you cannot impose on us your tyranny or your projects," he said.