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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nasrallah: Hezbollah preparing for war with Israel

Nasrallah promises war. Nasrallah tends to make good on his "promises." It is hard to see how Hezbollah will fight with UNIFIL in place, even if the Lebanese army stands aside, but it is equally hard to see how Israel could fight as well.  
 Hezbollah chief: We're preparing for war with Israel in coming months
By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Friday that operatives within Lebanon are preparing for a new war with Israel in coming months.
Nasrallah, who made a speech in honor of the "Islamic Resistance Week," maintained that activists from his organization are ready for battle against the Israel Defense Forces and will fight the IDF soldiers "in every wadi" in ways they haven't fought in the past.
The leader of the Lebanon-based guerilla group spoke at a rally in front of thousands who came to honor Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah's deputy secretary general, who was killed in a car bombing in Damascus on February 12. Nasrallah also spoke about the 1992 targeted killing of his predecessor, Abbas Moussawi.
"No one can protect the entire Israeli home front from our missiles," he said. "If they think of entering the south, to any valley, any hill, I swear you [Israelis] will carry your tanks and soldiers and your entire army will collapse under the feet of Imad Mughniyah," Nasrallah said
"I swear to you Haj Imad, your blood will not go to waste," Nasrallah said.
"We will defend ourselves the way we choose, at the time we choose, in the place we choose... With our will and bravery we will defend ourselves and our blood," he proclaimed.
At time of his death, Mughniyah was the commander of Hezbollah's guerrilla army. He had been on the United States' most wanted list and was hunted by Israeli intelligence for two decades for his role in a string of kidnappings, hijackings and attacks against Western and Israeli targets that killed hundreds in the 1980s and early 1990s. Though many accused Israel of the assassination, Israel denies any involvement.
"Destroying Israel is an inevitable outcome, a historic law, a divine doctrine," Nasrallah said. "When Israel won't have an army it won't survive, and that's what I said about Mughniyah's blood leading to the elimination of Israel."
He maintained that Hezbollah is waging an "open war" with Israel, emphasizing that "the war is open since 1948, before I was born."
Nasrallah said that Syria is responsible for investigating Mughniyah's assasination, and updating the Shiite organization with its findings.
He maintained that the investigation strengthened his view that Israel stood behind the assassination, praising Mughniyah's involvement in the kidnapping of Israeli businessman Elhanan Tennenbaum and forcing Israel to leave Lebanon in the year 2000.
Israel flights taking extra precautions due to Hezbollah hijacking threats
Israel is requiring that passengers on all incoming flights be confined to their seats in the half-hour before landing as part of heightened precautions against hijacking, aviation security sources said on Friday.
They said the Transport Ministry order, issued to local and foreign airlines on Wednesday, cited threats by Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas to avenge the February 12 assassination of their operations chief by waging "open war" against Israel.
"Our new policy is that planes lock their flight-deck doors and activate the 'please fasten seat belts' signs when 290 kilometers away from Israel," one Israeli security source said.
"It's a precaution against hijackers storming the cockpit in the final approach, given the current terrorist threat level," the source said, adding that previously it was up to the airlines to decide when to ask passengers to remain seated.
The Transport Ministry had no immediate comment.
The new Israeli aviation security standards may remain in force even if Hezbollah's threats of reprisals are not being borne out and the recent alert level is lowered, sources said.
Israel last year began requiring that all pilots who fly to its airports use the Security Code System (SCS), a local invention designed to ensure any plane commandeered for an al Qaida-style ramming attack is spotted and intercepted in time.
On most flights, which approach Israel from the west, pilots equipped with the SCS must enter a personalized, technologically secured code when 290 kilometers out, so that air traffic controllers in Tel Aviv know the cockpit is in the right hands.
Aviation experts have suggested that hijackers could wait for SCS compliance to have been established before striking. Keeping passengers seated until landing would help diminish such a threat, an Israeli security source said.
"The new regulations are definitely linked to our introduction of the SCS," the source said.
Since the al Qaida attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has instituted mandatory pre-landing seating regulations for flights to some of its airports. There are also U.S. rules against incoming passengers congregating in plane aisles.

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