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Hezbollah warns Lebanon not to touch its weapons

Hezbollah on Monday warned the Western-backed coalition that won Lebanon's election that its weapons arsenal was not a subject open to discussion.

world Updated: Jun 08, 2009 16:01 IST

Hezbollah on Monday warned the Western-backed coalition that won Lebanon's election that its weapons arsenal was not a subject open to discussion.

"The majority must commit not to question our role as a resistance party, the legitimacy of our weapons arsenal and the fact that Israel is an enemy state," Hezbollah official Mohamed Raad told AFP.

He warned that the outcome of Sunday's vote, which has the majority winning about 70 seats in the 128-seat parliament against 58 for a Hezbollah-led alliance, signalled further political turbulence.

"The results indicate that the crisis will continue, unless the majority changes its attitude," said Raad, an MP who kept his seat in the new parliament.

Hezbollah's arsenal has been a thorn in the side of the outgoing national unity government and has been at the center of a national dialogue to define a defence strategy for Lebanon.

Hezbollah and Israel waged a devastating war in 2006 that left much of south Lebanon in ruins and killed more than 1,200 people, mainly Lebanese civilians, as well as 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers.

The militant group has since refused to disarm despite a post-war UN resolution that calls for all militias to turn in their weapons. It argues that its arsenal is needed to defend the country against Israel.