Report: Hezbollah prepares retaliation for potential Nasrallah assassination
The Hezbollah has prepared a list of targets the Lebanese militia would hit in the event that the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah or other top officials would be assassinated by Israel, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper quoted sources described as close associates of Hezbollah officials as saying that the assassination of senior officials within the organization would be viewed as a violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which effectively ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. In the event of such a violation, the sources said, Hezbollah would view itself as free of any ceasefire obligations and has ordered its operatives to fire hundreds of missiles toward central Israel.
The reason, the sources explained, is that the assassination of a senior figure such as Nasrallah is seen by Hezbollah as the killing of a state leader, representing a clear declaration of war on behalf of Israel.
The newspaper quotes Lebanese sources as saying that "not a single stone in Israel will be safe if and when Nasrallah is harmed," because, according to the sources, the Hezbollah response would be focused and painful as key security and strategic targets within Israel have been selected for attack.
The newspaper further reported that if Nasrallah were to be assassinated, the armed wing of Hezbollah would respond immediately and not "wait patiently," as they did after the Feb. 2008 assassination of Nasrallah's second-in-command Imad Mughniyeh. The Lebanese organization believes that Israel was behind the Mughniyeh assassination, but Israel has denied the allegations. Still, Hezbollah has threatened to retaliate against Israel for the military chief's death.
On this issue, Al Arai quoted sources as saying that Hezbollah was close to assassinating a senior Israeli figure, but the plan was aborted at the last minute due to a surprising decision made "across the sea." Another explanation for the last minute cancellation was world opinion – Hezbollah did not want to supply the world with a reason to feel sympathetic toward Israel, especially following the recent events aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship where Israeli troops killed nine Turkish activists, an incident which turned world opinion largely against Israel.
According to the Kuwaiti newspaper, Russian sources recently reported that Israel has been operating surveillance to locate Nasrallah, and even located him at a Hezbollah security facility in southern Beirut about a year ago. Experts have suggested, however, that the report may be part of Hezbollah's propaganda war and not based on actual facts.