( dpa )- The chief of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah vowed Monday that the killers of the group's military commander would not go unpunished.
Addressing a mass rally via satellite in southern Beirut, 40 days after Imad Mughaniyeh was assassinated in Damascus, Nasrallah declared: "Those who killed Hajj Imad will taste the punishment at the time and place we choose."
Speaking via satellite, Nasrallah told the crowd: "We found in our enemy nothing but concern and fear of Mughaniyeh's spirit, blood, revenge, way, and pledge."
"We are celebrating 40 days on the death of the martyr commander. These are festive days for Muslims and Christians," he added.
Prior to the rally, verses from the Koran echoed from mosques in Beirut's southern suburbs and crowds of Hezbollah followers visited Mughaniyeh's grave.
Nasrallah said a new Israeli war on Lebanon or Syria was unlikely as was a U.S. strike on Iran, adding, "It is not simple for America to launch a war on Iran or for Israel to launch a war on Syria or Lebanon."
Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and Hezbollah's "victory" over Israel in 2006 meant that a new war is "no longer that simple," he said.
"I want to remind you that an Israeli war is no longer a picnic. An Israeli war has become very costly because there is in Lebanon the strength, will and education of the resistance (Hezbollah) as well as the blood of the resistance's martyrs," he said.
Meanwhile, Israel has imposed a heightened security alert for fear of an attack by Hezbollah guerrillas to avenge Mughaniyeh's death.
Earlier Monday, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said that Hezbollah's threats should not be taken lightly in the wake of Mughaniyeh's killing.
During a visit to a West Bank crossing in southern Mount Hebron, Barak said Israel must "keep its eyes open," adding, security and intelligence establishments "are prepared and ready."