Hizbullah celebrates victory over Israel with Nasrallah vowing to keep arms and calling government to step down
In his first public appearance since the start of the 34-day war with Israel, Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah thanked God for "a divine, historic and strategic victory'' over the Jewish state. He told a crowd of hundreds of thousands of supporters in Beirut that Hizbullah fighters will give up their weapons only when Israel's threats end and the Lebanese government is strong enough to protect the country.
Nasrallah urged the current Lebanese government to step down and replace it with a unity governmnet. According to him, the current government cannot protect, unite and reconstruct Lebanon, adding that a strong state is built through the formation of a government of national unity.
He said no army in the world could disarm his group. "There is no army in the world that can (force us) to drop our weapons from our hands, from our grip," Nasrallah said. Hizbullah chief also noted Hizbullah is now stronger than it was before July 12, holding 20,000 rockets that can be launched towards Israel. He stressed that Hizbullah's weapons are not Shiite, but Lebanese.
"Today we celebrate a great divine, historic and strategic victory,'' Nasrallah said. He said he decided to appear at the rally despite threats to his life. "They said that this square would be bombed and this stage would be destroyed to frighten the people and keep them away.''
Nasrallah said he debated with his aides about whether to attend until 30 minutes before the rally. "But my heart, mind and soul did not allow me to address you from afar,'' he said. "You are proving by attending this victory celebration that you are more courageous than on July 12 and Aug. 14,'' he said.