The leader of Lebanese armed group Hezbollah said it has attained precision-guided missiles in spite of Israeli attempts to keep hi-tech weapons out of its hands.
Hassan Nasrallah made the comments on Thursday during his traditional televised speech commemorating Ashoura, an important commemoration for Shia Muslims.
Nasrallah’s comments were broadcast on a large screen to supporters in Beirut’s majority Shia suburb of Dahiya.
“I tell [Israel] no matter what it did to cut the route, it is over. It has already been achieved,” Nasrallah said, adding Hezbollah “now possesses precision missiles and non-precision weapons capabilities”. He did not elaborate.
The Israeli military has said Hezbollah has between 100,000 and 120,000 short-range missiles and rockets, as well as several hundred longer-range missiles.
Hezbollah also has thousands of fighters in Syria supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the country’s bloody civil war, now into its eighth year.
A return to Israel-Hezbollah hostilities?
Hezbollah fighters will continue to be deployed in Syria and will not leave until Assad asks them to, Nasrallah said in another speech on Wednesday.
Tensions between Israel and Syria, whom have technically been at war since Israel was established in 1948, recently increased after Syria accidentally shot down a Russia military aircraft that Israeli fighter pilots were using for “cover”, according to Moscow.
All 15 Russian crew members died.
Israel has regularly targeted what it says are weapons transfers between Iran, another Israel adversary on the side of Assad, and Hezbollah.
Tel Aviv has said it is working to stop Iran from entrenching its military in Syria, and to keep Hezbollah from acquiring sophisticated arms. It recently acknowledged carrying out more than 200 air attacks over the past 18 months in Syria.
On Wednesday, Nasrallah said Israeli claims that it targeted a shipment of hi-tech arms to Hezbollah in Syria’s Latakia province earlier this week were “lies”.
He also threatened Tel Aviv over any action taken against Hezbollah’s main base.
“If Israel imposes a war on Lebanon, Israel will face a destiny and reality it didn’t expect,” Nasrallah said.
He also urged supporters to rally behind Iran during his speech, saying it’s facing hard times as more US sanctions take effect in November.
Nasrallah accused the United States of “going to all the world’s capitals in a bid to besiege” Iran, as Washington seeks support for its measures against the country.