The Lebanese terrorist group Hizbollah has doubled its arsenal of precision-guided missiles in the past year, its leader has claimed, despite Israel’s efforts to stop it acquiring more weapons.
Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s leader, said he had the capability to strike anywhere in Israel and occupied Palestinian territories using the missiles, which the Iran-backed group has threatened to use against targets such as oil refineries, air force bases and the Israeli military’s headquarters in Tel Aviv.
In a televised interview, Nasrallah said that Hizbollah would retaliate to any attacks on its strongholds in Lebanon, while the group is also seeking to avenge the killing of two of its members in an Israeli air strike in Syria in August.
He also repeated a vow to take revenge for the killing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander, Qassim Soleimani, by an American drone strike in Iraq on January 3 last year.
"That revenge is coming no matter how long it takes," he told Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV on Sunday, sitting with a picture of Soleimani to his left.
“All the drills and measures the Israeli is taking on the borders are because he is aware that we will respond,” Nasrallah added. “The Israeli is in a state of confusion and recognizes that the resistance missiles can reach accurate goals in any place inside the occupied territories.”
He also claimed that Saudi Arabia, America and Israel were plotting his assassination, pointing to US Central Command Mark Miley’s recent visit to Israel as “evidence”.
However, he urged his followers to be cautious during the last few weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency, calling the outgoing US president “angry” and “crazy”.
“The resistance axis should be cautious throughout these couple of weeks so it wouldn’t be dragged into an uncalculated confrontation,” he said.
It is not clear how many precision weapons Hizbollah has acquired, with estimates ranging from a few dozen missiles up to 200, according to a report last year by the UK-based think-tank Bicom.
Israel has previously carried out air strikes to prevent new Iranian weapons reaching the group from Syria. But Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, warned the United Nations in September that Hizbollah was now trying to make precision-guided weapons in locations including the southern suburbs of Beirut, by converting older rockets with GPS devices.
Nasrallah said on Sunday that it had many secrets that Israel was unaware of, which were kept by a “very tight circle”, he claimed.