BEIRUT: Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Wednesday his party was responsible for wounding Israeli soldiers that crossed in Lebanon last week and vowed to confront the Jewish state should it take any similar action in the future.
“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 also dismissed reports saying the blast had been the result of ordinance left from previous conflicts and said the Jewish state had tried to play down the significance of the incident.
"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.
Nasrallah, who spoke in an interview with Almayadeen television, said the location of the blast had been under the careful eye of Hezbollah, adding that two Israeli teams had crossed into the country - one that was advancing to carry out a specific mission, the other remaining behind as backup.
He said the two units consisted of at least a dozen Israeli soldiers and that the two bombs, detonated remotely, led to the wounding of four Israeli soldiers. The first blast, Nasrallah said, 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 town of Labbouneh on Aug. 7 and that a blast wounded four soldiers during the infiltration. Lebanon has filed a complaint of the violation to the United Nations.
Nasrallah vowed his party would take similar actions in the future, stressing Hezbollah had the right to defend Lebanon against any incursion by the Jewish state.
“We will confront any entry by Israelis into Lebanese territory that we know of,” he said. “We will cut off the feet of those entering our land.”
“It is our right not to remain silent to any incursion into our land and this was not a mere breach of sovereignty but had operational objectives which we will not sit still for,” Nasrallah said.
During the interview, which was devoted the 33-day war between Israel and Lebanon, Nasrallah also said President Bashar Assad had contemplated sending Syrian troops to Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in the event the confrontation with escalated Israel and posed a threat to Damascus.
Nasrallah said he asked Assad to hold off on getting involved in the conflict, saying his party feared a regional war and that he was confident Hezbollah could emerge victorious.
Nasrallah said Assad had provided his group with Syrian-made rockets and Kornet anti-tank missiles to confront Israel.
“We received weapons directly from Syria ... and a lot of rockets we used in July were made in Syria and they were excellent rockets,” he said.
The Hezbollah chief added that there had been no need for his group to import weapons from its main ally Iran during the war because “we did not need any.”
He said that his party had an ample supply of weapons to carry on fighting for a period of six months.
Nasrallah also took aim at former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, who headed the government during the 33-day conflict.
“We did not trust Fouad Siniora with the file of the resistance from the beginning of the war to the end,” he said. “We did not feel that prime minister [Siniora] or his political group sympathized with us even at a humanitarian level ... and Siniora is the one who delayed the solution at the end of the war.”
Nasrallah alleged that Siniora’s government had delayed informing the United Nations that Hezbollah had endorsed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, the resolution that brokered a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon.
Nasrallah said his party would never abandon its struggle against the Jewish state and claimed he had in the past turned down offers by the West to do so.
He named former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney as having tried to dissuade the resistance party from its objectives.
Nasrallah said Cheney, through an intermediary who posed as a Western journalist, had offered Hezbollah normalization of ties and further incentives if the party changed its policy toward Israel.
The Hezbollah chief said he declined the offer immediately.
The United States lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Turning to recent events in the country, 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.