Nasrallah admits capture of two Israeli soldiers was mistake
Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday that if he had known the capture of two Israeli soldiers would lead to such a war, he wouldn't have ordered it. "We did not think, even one percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 ... that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not," he said in an interview with New TV station.
The two Israeli soldiers were seized during a July 12 Hizbullah cross-border raid that killed eight others.
Nasrallah also said there would not be a second round of fighting with Israel any time soon, and that its fighters would adhere to the cease-fire despite Israeli provocations.
Nasrallah said that negotiations on the release of the two Israeli soldiers captured by Hizbullah have already started.
The privately owned Beirut station released excerpts from the interview in advance of broadcast later Sunday.
"Contacts recently began for negotiations," the Hizbullah chief said. "It seems that Italy is trying to get into the subject. The United Nations is interested and the negotiations would be through [Lebanon's Parliamentary Speaker Nabih] Berri."
He also said that U.N. troops preparing to deploy in southern Lebanon would not face any problems as long as their mission did not involve disarming his fighters. "We have no problem with UNIFIL (U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon) as long as its mission is not aimed at disarming Hizbullah," Nasrallah said.
The Secretary General of the movement added however that if Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon encountered armed fighters, the army did have the right to collect weapons. "If the Lebanese army encounters any armed person, it has the right to confiscate their weapons," he said.
"When the army begins protecting its people, this will no longer be our responsibility," he added.
Nasrallah also challenged those demanding the withdrawal of his fighters from south Lebanon, saying that they lived in the villages targeted by Israel. "How do you expect me to go and tell these (men) to leave their homes" and get out of the region, he said.