Hezbollah admits it is fighting Islamic State

He acknowledged, for the first time, Hezbollah is fighting IS.
By Ed Adamczyk  |  Feb. 17, 2015 at 7:35 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called for Middle Eastern unity in fighting the Islamic State.

In a speech, delivered Monday by videotape to his followers in suburban Beirut, the leader of the Lebanese militant organization and political party urged Arab states to put aside sectarian differences and reliance on the United States, to join Hezbollah, and by extension its patron, Iran, in confronting IS.

"We call on the people and governments of the region in order to work together to confront the takfiri threat," he said, a reference to a Muslim accusing another Muslim of renouncing the tenets of Islam. "He who relies on the Americans relies on an illusion. You rely on someone who is stealing from you and conniving against you," he added.

Nasrallah's speeches are typically attacks on Israel, but his address Monday focused on IS as the largest current threat to the region's stability. He also acknowledged Hezbollah troops are engaged in the fight against IS, although the speech suggested the battle against IS cannot be won without the involvement of an assortment of Middle Eastern Arab countries and organizations.

Hezbollah sent fighters to Iraq over a year ago, after a Hezbollah commander was killed by IS militants in the Baghdad area, but Nasrallah's speech was the first admission of Hezbollah involvement in the fights against IS.

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