Hezbollah says it has right to anti-aircraft weapons

February 18, 2009

BEIRUT (AFP) – Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Monday that his Islamic resistance movement had every right to possess anti-aircraft weapons in its struggle against Israel.

“We have the right to possess any kind of weapon to defend the country and our people... including anti-aircraft weapons,” Nasrallah said via video link to thousands of supporters gathered in his stronghold in Beirut's suburbs.
“And we have every right to use such weapons if we wish,” he added. “Why do they (the Israelis) fear us owning such weapons? Because the resistance has the will and the courage to use them.”
Nasrallah, whose Islamic resistance movement fought a 34-day war with the Zionist regime in 2006, was responding to recent Israeli reports that Syria had delivered ground-to-air missiles to Hezbollah.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said earlier this month that if such reports were true that it would “change the strategic balance and force Israel to act.”
Nasrallah, speaking at a rally marking the first anniversary of the martyrdom of top Hezbollah commander Imad Mughnieh and two other senior chiefs, said he would neither confirm nor deny that his movement owned such weapons.
“Israel does what it wants in our airspace... and tells us if you own these weapons you will pay a price and if you down an Israeli plane flying over Lebanon you will pay a price,” he said.
“I am not saying I want to launch a new battle, but it is our right to own any kind of weapon to protect our people and our country.
“Whether we own these weapons or not is another matter,” he added. “Our struggle against this enemy... is based on the element of surprise.”
Nasrallah also vowed to fulfill his promise to avenge Mughnieh who was killed in a Damascus car bombing last year which Hezbollah blamed on Israel.
“Mughnieh will haunt them everywhere, day and night,” he said. “As for us, we maintain our promise, our vow and our oath and this promise will be fulfilled, God willing.”