Hezbollah stresses readiness for war with Israel
Lebanese Shiite armed group Hezbollah's deputy chief Naim Kasem said Sunday that his group does not need assurances concerning a possible Israeli attack, stressing that the group's weapons and readiness give them confidence, state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported.
Kasem told a gathering at a funeral ceremony in southern Beirut that he was "surprised by those who give assurances to Lebanon when they do not have the power to curtail Israel."
"We don't need to be assured by anyone on behalf of Israel. What is reassuring is our weapons and readiness," he added, Xinhua reported.
The Hezbollah deputy chief was apparently responding to comments made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy during Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's trip to Paris earlier this week.
"France vows to try to prevent Israel from bombarding the basic infrastructure of Lebanon, but not more than that," pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat quoted Sarkozy as telling Hariri.
Earlier, the Lebanese prime minister said he was worried that Israel may create new conflict in the Middle East region.
Kasem warned that "if Israel wants to do something, it is fully aware of the level of response, and this is what reassures us and nothing else matters."
Hezbollah members were said to have been put on high alert as Israeli troops continued to mass along the border with Lebanon, Asharq al-Awsat reported Friday.
The newspaper cited well-informed Hezbollah sources as saying that the Lebanese Shiite armed group has ordered its members to be on "high alert in the event of a surprise Israeli operation against party headquarters and positions."
Hezbollah, which owns thousands of rockets, fought a devastating 34-day war with Israel in 2006. The group's chief Hassan Nasrallah vowed lately to "change the face of the region" in case of confrontation with Israel.