Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in the southern Lebanon town of Bint Jbeil amid tight security. His visit comes during a tense political climate in Beirut, where Hezbollah is awaiting possible indictments from a U.N.-backed tribunal probing the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Ahmadinejad delivered his speech 2 miles north of the border of the so-called occupied territories. The Iranian president praised the Lebanese resistance, a reference to Hezbollah, for acting as the guardians of Lebanese sovereignty.
"The Zionists planned to destroy this village but it stood strong against the occupiers," he was quoted by Hezbollah's al-Manar news service as saying.
The Iranian president issued a stark warning to the Israelis, saying they faced elimination if they provoked Lebanon.
"Let the world know that the Zionists had planned to attack the glorious Bint Jbeil, believing that this thing would frustrate the Lebanese," he said. "I declare here that Bint Jbeil is alive and shall remain and let the world know that the Zionists will cease to exist."
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech at Bint Jbeil in 2000 after Israeli forces withdrew from parts of southern Lebanon, Hezbollah's stronghold.
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