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Nasrallah invites Lebanese for victory rally

The rally is being held to honour the Lebanese who were killed in the war and the detainees in Israeli jails.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2006 23:28 IST

Hizbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah invited the Lebanese on Sunday, to attend a "victory" rally in the guerrilla group's Beirut stronghold battered by Israel in a 34-day war.

"I call on you all to participate in a victory rally, your victory... Next Friday afternoon in the southern suburb, the suburb of honour, glory, faith, steadfastness and victory for the whole country and the whole nation," he said in a message aired on Hizbollah's Al-Manar Television.

"Let us renew our covenant and declare our joy at the divine victory to the whole world."

It was not clear if Nasrallah himself would attend the rally amid fears of Israeli attack. The charismatic cleric has not made a public appearance since a July 12 press conference to announce the capture of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid that sparked the war.

Hizbollah has declared victory in the war, which killed over 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 157 Israelis.

Israeli warplanes pounded Hizbollah's strongholds during the war and bombarded bridges and roads across the country, forcing almost a million people to flee their homes.

In a show of defiance, the rally will take place in the southern suburb of Beirut, a Shi'ite Muslim Hizbollah stronghold which was among the areas most devastated by Israeli strikes.

Nasrallah said the rally would be held in honour of Lebanese who were killed in the war and Lebanese detainees who remain in Israeli jails.

Hizbollah wants to exchange the two Israeli soldiers for Lebanese detainees held in Israel. The United Nations has appointed an envoy to "facilitate" the release of the Israeli soldiers.

First Published: Sep 17, 2006 23:28 IST