Hezbollah calls for victory rally

Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's leader, has called for a rally on Friday to mark the group's victory over Israel.

    Nasrallah did not say if he would attend the rally

    In a speech broadcast on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV station on Sunday, Nasrallah said the rally would show the group's "absolute commitment to our right to recover our land and prisoners and defend our nation, its dignity, freedom, sovereignty and real and full independence in the face of occupation".

    The rally is to take place in Beirut's southern suburbs on Friday evening.

    He said: "I call on all of you to participate in this victory rally."

    Nasrallah went into hiding on July 12, at the start of the 34-day war, and has not been seen publicly since. He did not say whether he would take part in the rally.

    Friday's event would mark only the second large-scale Hezbollah rally in its stronghold, the capital's southern suburbs, since fighting ended more than a month ago.

    Such rallies, during which Nasrallah often gave speeches to hundreds of thousands of supporters, were common before hostilities started.

    "... celebrate the divine and historic victory over the Zionists - the enemies of Lebanon"

    Hassan Nasrallah,
    Hezbollah leader

    He said the rally would "celebrate the divine and historic victory over the Zionists - the enemies of Lebanon" and "honour and thank all those who supported the resistance" during the Israeli offensive.

    French troops

    Meanwhile, Michele Alliot-Marie, the French defence minister, arrived in Lebanon on Sunday to review the movement of French troops deploying to a UN peacekeeping force in the south.

    She told reporters that the aim of her visit was "to assure the Lebanese authorities of France's support" for Lebanon and its post-war reconstruction.

    Her visit comes as the Lebanese government struggles to find a way to disarm Hezbollah, as called for in the UN Security Council resolution that brought an end to the war on August 14.

    Alliot-Marie said in an interview with the Lebanese daily L'Orient Le Jour, that southern Lebanon "must become a region entirely controlled by the Lebanese army and by the reinforced Unifil".

    "We will inflict even greater losses on them [the UN peacekeepers]than we did on the Israelis"

    Mohammed Ismail,
    mayor of Baraasheet

    Hezbollah said on Saturday that it would have no problem with UN peacekeepers as long as they stick to defending Lebanon from Israel, two days after the French general leading the troops hinted they would disarm the group if the Lebanese army does not.

    Warning

    In Baraasheet, a Hezbollah stronghold close to the Israeli border, Mohammed Ismail, the mayor, issued a warning to the French not to attempt to disarm Hezbollah.

    He said: "The purpose of this war was to seize Hezbollah's arms.

    "Israel did not succeed in doing it, and if the French battalion wants to carry out that mission in place of Israel, I am sure they will not succeed.

    "We will inflict even greater losses on them than we did on the Israelis."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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