International

Hezbollah says unfazed by US, Saudi ‘threats’

BEIRUT: The head of Lebanese movement Hezbollah said Thursday he was unfazed by “threats” of attacks or fresh sanctions, days after US President Donald Trump slammed the group and its sponsor Iran.

On his visit to Riyadh last week, Trump blamed Iran for destabilising the Middle East and called for a crackdown on its allies, including Hezbollah.

But party chief Hassan Nasrallah struck a defiant tone on Thursday, saying Hezbollah was “not afraid of any war, sanctions, or intimidation in the media.”

“Threats of killing or dying do not scare us… No one scares us at all. They are weaker than ever,” Nasrallah said.

He spoke via video-link to hundreds of supporters gathered in the northeast Lebanese town of Hermel to commemorate the 17th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

But the border remains unstable, rocked by occasional skirmishes between Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters.

Read More: Hezbollah says future war with Israel could take place in Israeli territory

Hezbollah and its sponsor Iran are also fiercely despised by Saudi Arabia — which Trump chose as his first foreign destination since he took office.

During a joint summit there last weekend, the US leader pointed the finger at Iran for destabilising the region.

“From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region,” Trump said.

He called on all countries to work together to isolate Tehran “until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace”.

Saudi’s King Salman also lambasted the Iranian government as “the spearhead of global terrorism”.

Ahead of the summit, Washington and Riyadh issued their first “joint terrorist designation” against a top Hezbollah official.

 

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