Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hezbollah: We could have up to 70,000 rockets left in arsenal

"Hezbollah could have tens of thousands of rockets still left in its arsenal, the group's deputy leader Naim Qassam said in an interview published Sunday in a London-based Arabic-language newspaper.

Qassam said that the reconstruction of Hezbollah's military wing was not a top priority as the group still had a plentiful supply of weapons.

"We had the option to confront Israel for many months," he said. "The 8,000 missiles that we fired at Israel could be a quarter or even just 10 percent of the rockets we have."

The group is now contemplating how best to move ahead following the deployment of Lebanese soldiers and United Nations troops in the south of the country, Qassam said.

He said that Hezbollah has yet to decide on its policy toward Israel if it does not pull out of the Shaba Farms, but indicated the group would not give up its "right to resistance."

He stressed that Hezbollah has no plans to strike American targets and said that the resistance to Israel would be carried out only on Lebanese soil, not "all around the world."

Qassam also repeated the previous declarations by Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, that the group had scored an historic victory against Israel.

"After the war, there was great destruction in Lebanon, but the decision to go to war was an Israeli-American one, with the declared aim of breaking Hezbollah. This aim was not ultimately achieved and in that we see an historic victory," he said."

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