An Israeli cabinet minister said on Sunday that Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon's Shiite fundmentalist movement Hezbollah and a nemesis of Israel, deserved to die. "Nasrallah deserves death and I hope that those who know what to do with him will act and give him what he deserves," said Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, who is close to hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
His remarks came after Cairo announced last week the arrest of 49 people linked with Hezbollah who are suspected of planning attacks in Egypt.
Nasrallah confirmed on Friday that one of those detained is a Hezbollah member, but denied seeking to destabilise the country, saying the man was responsible for helping transport arms to the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating war in Lebanon in 2006 after the Shiite militia's guerrillas seized two Israeli soldiers in a deadly cross-border raid.
The 34-day war killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, and is widely considered in the Jewish state to have been a failure.
Katz also told army radio that the "rules of the game must change" in regard to Hamas, which like Hezbollah enjoys the backing of Iran and Syria. "We will soon set out a new policy. We should erect a wall between the Gaza Strip and Israel and we should no longer exercise the slightest responsibility for civil affairs in the Gaza Strip, such as allowing the passage of merchandise."
Israel has kept Gaza largely sealed to all but essential humanitarian goods since Hamas, an Islamist movement pledged to the destruction of the Jewish state, seized control of the territory in June 2007. "All responsibility for civil affairs must be exercised by Egypt," which controlled Gaza before Israel captured the tiny territory in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, he said.