Israel minister demands murder


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Israel minister demands swift killing of Hezbollah chief
by Jean-Luc Renaudie
Sat Sep 30, 6:59 AM ET

Israel should "liquidate" Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah "at the first 
opportunity," Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer, a former defence 
minister, told army radio.

"We must liquidate Nasrallah at the first opportunity, because he is the 
embodiment of evil, not just for us but for Muslims and Christians too," Ben 
Eliezer said Saturday.

The minister is a member of the centre-left Labour party, the main coalition 
partner of the centrist Kadima formation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

His comments came as Lebanon said it had been told that Israel planned to 
complete its pullout from the south on Sunday, following its devastating 34-day 
conflict with the Shiite militants of Hezbollah in July and August.

During the war, political and military leaders warned that the Hezbollah chief 
was in Israel's sights. Media reports said several attempts were made to kill 
him during the month-long onslaught.

The southern suburbs of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, were devastated by 
tonnes of bombs dropped by Israeli warplanes.

At the time Israeli Prime Minister Edhud Olmert said the normal rules of war did
not apply to Hezbollah, which was a "terrorist organisation".

Ben Eliezer on Saturday did not rule out a resumption of hostilities in south 
Lebanon after the Israeli pullout.

"My impression is that war could break out again in Lebanon over the next three 
or four months," he said, adding: "Arrangements in place in south Lebanon after 
the Israeli withdrawal will not hold.

"Hezbollah will profit from the opportunity to make itself stronger on the backs
of the Lebanese army and the foreign soldiers deployed in south Lebanon," he 

On Thursday, Olmert ruled out a new confrontation with Hezbollah in the 
immediate future, however.

"The chances that Hezbollah would be persuaded to mount in the short term a 
major military confrontation such as we saw this summer are very slight," he 
said in an interview on public radio.

"But I do not exclude the possibility that the Iranians and to a certain extent 
the Syrians will try to manipulate Hezbollah, so that we should expect to be 
tested," Olmert added.

Lebanon said Saturday that it had been told by UN peacekeepers that Israel was 
finally poised to complete its promised pullout, weeks after a UN Security 
Council truce resolution came into force on August 14.

A government spokesman in Beirut said the French commander of the UN Interim 
Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), General Alain Pellegrini, had told Lebanese Prime 
Minister Fuad Siniora that Israel would withdraw the last of its troops on 

But the Israeli military refused to confirm a definitive timing for the pullout 
"for security reasons".

A military spokeswoman said only that the Israeli forces would withdraw from 
"several sectors" on Sunday and transfer control to UNIFIL.

Nasrallah made his first public appearance since the war at a huge "victory" 
rally in Beirut on September 22, emerging from more than two months in hiding to
address a rapturous crowd in the shattered southern suburbs.

A hero for many Arabs but Israel's public enemy number one, Nasrallah had not 
been seen in public since July 12, the day the war broke out after Hezbollah 
captured two Israeli soldiers in a deadly cross-border raid.

The Shiite militant leader's predecessor was assassinated by Israel in 1992, and
Nasrallah said he had decided to attend the Beirut rally only about half an hour
before it was due to begin.

Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse.
Copyright © 2006 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

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