Lebanon: Hezbollah vows to drive off Israel

BEIRUT, Lebanon, March 13 (UPI) -- Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Qassem said his movement in Lebanon is ready to stand up to Israeli aggression.

Qassem told Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency he was frustrated with Israeli reconnaissance flights over Lebanon and other border incursions. He said he was countering the narrative that said Hezbollah was the aggressor in the region.


"We will stand up to Israel's aggressions with preparedness," he said in an interview published Wednesday. "We will maintain our preparedness and Israel will be driven back.

Hezbollah says it needs to keep up an armed resistance against Israeli aggression. Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah last month said that defense option is needed now more than ever because of recent Israeli military action along Lebanon's borders.

Lawmakers in Beirut have grappled over Lebanese national defense. Hezbollah's opponents say national security should be in the hands of state entities, not the Shiite movement's guerrilla forces.

Last month, Qassem said Lebanon's new government, formed in February around Prime Minister Tammam Salam, should not "do away with the resistance."

Hezbollah secured two posts in Salam's government.

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