BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon’s Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Tuesday the Shi’ite guerrilla group would attack all military, civilian and commercial ships heading toward Israel’s Mediterranean coasts in any future war.
“If you (Israel) put our coasts under siege in any future war, I say all military, civilian and commercial ships heading to Palestine’s coasts on the Mediterranean will be under the fire of the Islamic resistance fighters,” he said via a video-link in a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from south Lebanon.
Earlier this year Nasrallah threatened to hit Israel’s Ben Gurion airport if the Jewish state struck Beirut’s international airport in any future conflict.
“(As for) those ships which will go to any port on the Palestinian coast from north to the south, (I say) we are capable of hitting it and are determined to go into this..if they besiege our coasts,” he said.
“When the world will witness how these ships will be destroyed in Palestine’s regional water nobody will dare to go there just as they will block (others) from coming to our coasts,” he told thousands of supporters.
Nasrallah’s comments coincide with a five-day drill in Israel — dubbed “Turning Point 4” — which was launched on Sunday to test the Jewish state’s preparedness against possible missile strikes from the Gaza Strip and by Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israel has held nationwide civil defense exercises annually for the past three years and military officials said the current drill is the most extensive in its 62-year history.
“Through all these drills (Israel) wants to comfort its internal front..do drills as much as you like but when the rockets start hitting...we will see what the drills do for you.”
Hezbollah fought against Israel in a 34-day war in 2006 after the group captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid. Some 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, were killed and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, died.
Israel pounded Beirut’s southern suburbs as well as mainly Shi’ite southern Lebanon where Hezbollah maintains a stronghold and from which Israel withdrew in 2000.
Israeli bombing also hit bridges, roads, airport runways, ports, factories, power and water networks, and military installations, and the eastern Bekaa Valley.
Tension is high in the region after Israel accused Syria in April of supplying Hezbollah with long-range Scud missiles capable of hitting deep inside Israel. Syria denied the charge and accused Israel of fomenting war.
Nasrallah refused to confirm or deny that his group obtained Scud missiles from Syria. He also said he did not want war but if Israel launched one, his group was capable of hitting deep inside Israel.
Hezbollah fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel during the 2006 Lebanon war.
“I am saying the ships heading to Israel (will be bombed) but we will let the ships leaving the Palestinian ports and carrying civilians pass,” he said to a cheering crowd.
Writing by Mariam Karouny; editing by Ralph Boulton