Israel, not jihad, is Lebanon's biggest threat - Hezbollah
Qassem said Hezbollah has had intelligence on 'takfiri' activities since 2006, but will always prioritize the 'Israeli threat' first. (AFP/File)
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The Israeli threat takes priority over the takfiri dangers facing Lebanon, Hezbollah’s Deputy Head Naim Qassem said Tuesday, nothing that the party has been fighting exremists since since 2006.
“A priority will always be given to confronting the Israeli threat,” Qassem said during a graduation ceremony held at al-Jinan Hall in the southern suburbs of Beirut. The deputy head downplayed the threat posed by takfiri groups, saying that they are linked to Israel and have only been drawn in to confrontation with Hezbollah as a result of “circumstance.”
“The resistance against Israel is a decision that liberated the land,” while the reliance on the U.S. and the U.N. have failed in that regard, he added in reference to Hezbollah’s liberation of Israeli occupied territories in south Lebanon in May 2000.
Shifting to domestic politics, the Hezbollah number two announced his acceptance of Iranian aid pledged to the Lebanese Army, after some politicians voiced opposition to the donation due to complications with regards to international sanctions imposed on Tehran.
Qassem said that the only state he would exclude from efforts to arm the Lebanese military would be Israel.
With regards to Syria, Hezbollah’s intervention minimized the risks against Lebanon, Qassem added. However, the takfiri threat did not emerge as a result of the Syrian war.
Hezbollah intelligence has been warning of takfiris since 2006, he said, citing reports that said the extremists sought to “dispatch explosive rigged vehicles to target the party’s ceremonies and gatherings years before the outbreak of the Syrian crisis.”