Hezbollah chief threatens Israel over Syria strikes

Image grab from Hezbollah's al-Manar TV on January 9, 2015, shows Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon's militant Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah, giving an address from an undisclosed location (AFP Photo/)
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Beirut (AFP) - Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened in an interview Thursday to retaliate against Israel for repeated strikes on Syria and said he has missiles that can hit the Jewish state.

Nasrallah told Al-Mayadeen television that his powerful Shiite movement has had Iranian Fateh-110 missiles that could strike throughout Israel since 2006, adding that it is always ready to fight the Jewish state.

Nasrallah, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has sent thousands of fighters into Syria to help defend the regime.

He said that Israeli strikes on Syria "target the whole of the resistance axis", which includes Hezbollah, Damascus and Tehran.

"The repeated bombings that struck several targets in Syria are a major violation, and we consider that any strike against Syria is a strike against the whole of the resistance axis, not just against Syria," he told the Beirut-based Arab news television.

"The axis is capable of responding. This can happen any time."

Asked about Hezbollah's arsenal, Nasrallah said the group had "all (the weapons) you can imagine... and in great quantities".

He added: "We are now stronger than we ever were as a resistance movement."

Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating war in the summer of 2006 that killed some 1,200 Lebanese -- most of them civilians -- and 160 Israelis -- most of them soldiers.

According to Pentagon officials, Hezbollah has 50,000 missiles, including some capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

The Israeli air force has carried out several raids against targets in Syria, including depots storing weapons meant for Hezbollah, since the conflict there started nearly four years ago.

The most recent strike was in December, when Israeli warplanes struck weapons warehouses near Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

Israel has never confirmed it carried out the strikes, but it says it has a policy of preventing arms transfers to militant groups including Hezbollah.

Israeli media said, however, after the December strikes that the air force had targeted arms convoys or depots of Iranian-made rockets.

Nasrallah said in the interview that Hezbollah is ready to fight a new war against Israel in Lebanon and renewed a threat to invade the Galilee region of northern Israel.

"When the resistance (Hezbollah) leadership... asks you (fighters)... to enter into Galilee, that means the resistance must be ready to enter into Galilee and to go even beyond the Galilee."

- 'No solution without Assad' -

Nasrallah also spoke extensively on how he views the war on Syria, where his troops have played a key role since mid-2013 in helping Assad's regime reconquer territory it had previously lost to the opposition.

He said he does not believe there can be no solution to the devastating Syrian war that excludes Assad.

Gulf states, Turkey and the West have repeatedly called for Assad's ouster, while rebel groups have refused to talk to the regime so long as Assad remains in power.

Russia is a key Damascus backer, and aims to hold talks later this month. It is unclear which opposition groups will attend the meeting.

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