Naharnet

Netanyahu Slams Hizbullah, Compares Mughniyeh to Bin Laden in 'Spilling American Blood'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not forget to blast Hizbullah during his anti-Iran speech before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, describing the Lebanese party and Tehran as a real threat to Israel's survival.

“For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to (Sayyed) Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, Iran's chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world,” Netanyahu said.

“Iran's goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror,” he added, in an impassioned address to the U.S. legislature.

Netanyahu also recalled Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's 2014 visit to Lebanon.

“Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh,” Hizbullah's slain military commander, Netanyahu said.

“Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden,” the Israeli PM added.

He warned that “in the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals -- Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa.”

“If Iran's aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow,” Netanyahu cautioned, calling on the international community to “stand together to stop Iran's march of conquest, subjugation and terror.”

The elusive Mughniyeh, who led Hizbullah's military resistance against Israel, was killed in a 2008 car bomb blast in the Syrian capital Damascus.

Hizbullah blamed his killing on Israel, the party's sworn enemy, which denied involvement.

Information about Mughniyeh is limited, but he is generally understood to have been a principal leader and operative for a number of years within Hizbullah's military, intelligence, and security apparatuses. He may also have been among the founders of Hizbullah in the 1980s.

U.S. and Israeli officials have accused Mughniyeh of association with many bombings, kidnappings and assassinations, beginning with the Beirut U.S. barracks bomb attack and U.S. embassy bombings, both of which took place in 1983 and killed over 350, as well as the kidnapping of dozens of foreigners in Lebanon in the 1980s.

He was indicted in Argentina for an alleged role in the 1992 Israeli embassy attack in Buenos Aires.

U.S. officials have accused him of killing more United States citizens than any other anti-U.S. operative prior to the 2001 U.S. attacks, and the bombings and kidnappings he is alleged to have organized are credited with all but eliminating the U.S. military presence in Lebanon in the 1980s.

Netanyahu's controversial address to the U.S. Congress sought to highlight Iran's perceived expansionist hopes as one reason to halt nuclear talks between Tehran and the world powers.

Iran, a Shiite Muslim nation, is blamed for helping to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad, for supporting Huthi Shiite rebels who have seized the Yemeni capital and for trying to influence Iraqi leaders.

Y.R.


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