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Hezbollah threatens to strike Israeli ships

world Updated: May 26, 2010 12:55 IST

Shiite armed group Hezbollah has threatened to hit all Israeli ships in the Mediterranean Sea if a new armed conflict breaks out between Israel and Lebanon, the group's leader said.

"In any future war, if Israel blocks our coast and ports, all military, civil and commercial ships heading to Palestinian ports in the Mediterranean will come under Hezbollah rocket fire," Hassan Nasrallah, the organisation's secretary general, said Tuesday at a meeting to observe 10 years of the end of Israel's 22 years of occupation of southern Lebanon.

Nasrallah was reacting to reports that said there were plans of military operation in Lebanon in 2010. The plans were discussed in France in 2009, at a meeting of French, US and Israeli military officials.

During the 34-day war with Lebanon in 2006, Israel had imposed a sea blockade to prevent further arms supplies to Hezbollah. Around 1,200 Lebanese civilians and 160 Israeli soldiers were killed in the conflict.

Hezbollah fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel during the war.

"We are capable of targeting, striking and destroying your ships as they head to any port on the Palestinian coast from north to south... We are determined to open this new front if our coast is under siege," Nasrallah said.

Israel, meanwhile, launched a five-day nationwide home front exercise Sunday to train soldiers against possible missile strikes on its territory, including from Lebanon.

"Israel just wants internal comfort... do drills as much as you want but we will see how the drills will help you when the rockets start hitting," he said.

Hezbollah, a Shiite political group with an armed militant wing, was founded in 1982 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, according to the think-tank Council on Foreign Relations.