Israel backs off plan to kill Nasrallah


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Israel backs off plan to kill Nasrallah
Fri Sep 29, 6:49 AM ET

Israel has quietly backed off its plan to assassinate Hezbollah's leader because
of the international condemnation that his killing would create, the Israeli 
daily Maariv reported Friday.

During the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah that ended Aug. 14, Israel 
had targeted Hassan Nasrallah for assassination, security officials said, 
according to Maariv.

Nasrallah went underground, though he repeatedly recorded videos from his hiding
place that were broadcast on Lebanese television.

When the war ended, the army recommended that the efforts to kill Nasrallah be 
called off because his assassination would lead to international criticism of 
Israel and would ignite an even more violent war, Maariv reported.

However, the government declined to call off the hunt, the newspaper reported.

Nasrallah emerged from hiding on Sept. 22 to address a massive rally in Lebanon 
celebrating Hezbollah's fight against Israel. Israel army officials determined 
they could assassinate him with an airstrike during the rally, but dozens of 
bystanders also would be killed, Maariv reported.

The government decided an airstrike was not worth the risk, and accepted the 
army's recommendation that it should abandon efforts to kill Nasrallah for the 
time being, the newspaper reported. However, the government did not make a 
formal decision regarding Nasrallah.

Israeli government spokesman Miri Eisin declined to confirm whether Nasrallah 
had been a target or if he no longer was being pursued.

"We've always said that any terrorist should feel that his activities put him 
under our eye," she said.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

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