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Hezbollah claims Israel changed rhetoric

  |   March 2, 2010 at 11:32 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, March 2 (UPI) -- Israel was forced to change its harsh stance on Lebanon when confronted with the popular support of the Shiite resistance, the leader of Hezbollah said.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in a video broadcast said Israel was backing from its war rhetoric regarding its northern border with Lebanon because of the strength of the Shiite resistance.

Hezbollah fought a bruising 34-day campaign with Israel in 2006. It came away from the conflict with a sense of optimism for its ability to withstand the onslaught of the Israeli military, which hit several targets in Beirut in response to Hezbollah aggression.

Nasrallah lashed at Israeli leaders, saying they would never return to Lebanon.

"You have exited Lebanon once and for all, and I tell you, you will never be able to come back to Lebanon," he said in comments published by Hezbollah's al-Manar news service.

Nasrallah said the durability of the resistance derived from the support of the people, adding Israel will not penetrate the "secrecy" of Hezbollah.

Nasrallah, who made his statements Monday, was reacting to allegations in the Lebanese daily newspaper As-Safir that U.S. Embassy personnel were trying to spy on Lebanon through the national cellular network.

Hezbollah has been on edge after the assassination of a Hamas ringleader in Dubai. The assailants in the attack used foreign passports, prompting Hezbollah to ask for additional screening of foreigners entering Lebanon.

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