The leader of Lebanon's Shiite militant group Hezbollah said Friday that anyone who wished to harm Syrian President Bashar Assad was serving the interests of the United States and Israel.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech that the Syrian government was the only regime standing up against Israel, the U.S. and the Western world, which wish to bury the Palestinian issue.
The Hezbollah leader accused the West of hypocrisy regarding its condemnation of Assad's violent crackdown, stating as an example the lack of interference in the Bahrain revolution in which the country's leadership shot and killed hundreds of citizens.
Speaking from an undisclosed location, Nasrallah said that the Shiite Muslim group had captured three spies among its members, two of whom were recruited by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The spies, one of whom was allegedly recruited five months ago, did not pose a serious threat to the movement or its military capabilities, he said.
"None of these three cases are within the first line of senior leadership. They were not in positions of sensitive responsibility ... it is impossible to touch the military and security infrastructure of the resistance and its ability to confront," he said in a televised speech.
"None of them have sensitive information that could harm the structure of the resistance."
Nasrallah said the CIA agents who hired the spies had diplomatic protection from the U.S. embassy in Beirut. He accused the CIA of recruiting the spies on behalf of Israel.
"The Israelis failed to penetrate the structure of Hezbollah so they have turned to the CIA for help," he said.
Nasrallah also stressed that the Lebanon government was not a Hezbollah government, saying that many countries who claim this is the case harm Lebanon's tourists industry, and this must be corrected.
"The government is not a Hezbollah government, and all Lebanese people know this," Nasrallah said. "If this were our government we would have formed it within a week."
Hezbollah, which Washington designates as a terrorist group, fought an inconclusive 34-day war with Israel in 2006 during which it fired missiles deep into Israel. At least 1,200 Lebanese and 158 Israelis were killed during the war.
It is not unusual to discover spies in Lebanon but it was the first time the group, which takes prides in its ability to prevent infiltration, acknowledged that it had been penetrated.
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