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April 22, 2019 4:38 pm

Israel Not Ready for Full-Scale War With Hezbollah, Nasrallah Claims

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah addresses an April 15, 2018, election rally in the Bekaa Valley via a video link. Photo: Reuters / Aziz Taher.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah claimed on Monday that Israel was not ready for a full-scale war with the Lebanese terrorist group, walking back previously reported comments in which he said a conflict with the Jewish state was likely this summer.

According to Israeli news site Mako, Nasrallah made the statement at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the founding of Hezbollah’s youth movement.

Nasrallah said he “tends to rule out the possibility that Israel will start a war against Lebanon,” partly because, “the days have passed when Israel could decide the outcome of war from the air.”

As a result, he asserted, “they would need to undertake a ground operation, and according to many statements, the Israeli army is not ready for this.”

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Nasrallah’s statements were in contrast to those he recently made to senior commanders according to Kuwait’s Al Rai newspaper.

“The chance of war with Israel in the summer is high,” Nasrallah reportedly said. “It’s possible that I won’t be with you much longer, and it’s possible that additional top commanders will be killed along with me.”

Hezbollah officially denied that Nasrallah had made any such statement.

In Monday’s speech, Nasrallah repeated the denial, saying, “What was published in the newspapers about a war with Israel was mistaken and badly timed.”

He also mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and made an oblique reference to US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled peace plan.

The Israeli news site Walla quoted Nasrallah as saying, “We are in a battle between faith and despair. When the Palestinian people despair, it is possible to impose the ‘deal of the century’ on them, but as long as they have hope, no one can impose anything on them.”

“If the Lebanese people would surrender to despair, Trump would give Lebanon to Israel,” he added.

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