Report: Ahmadinejad met Nasrallah at Iran embassy in Beirut
Hezbollah chief emerges from bunker to hand Iran President a gun he claims was taken from Israeli soldiers during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Al Manar television reported on Thursday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had met with Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah at Iran's embassy in Beirut prior to the Iranian leader's departure from Lebanon.
Images from the meeting were screened by the Hezbollah-linked television network.
According to the report, the two discussed a range of issues, and at the culmination of the meeting Nasrallah gave Ahmadinejad a gun, which he claimed had been taken from Israeli soldiers during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Nasrallah seldom emerges from his bunker, where he has been staying since the fighting between his Iranian-backed organization and the Israel Defense Forces in southern Lebanon in 2006.
Earlier Thursday, speaking close to Israel's northern border, Ahmadinejad praised what he called "Lebanon's resistance to the Jewish state" and declared that "Zionists are mortal".
Addressing thousands of cheering Hezbollah supporters in Bint Jbeil, where Hezbollah fought fierce battles with Israeli soldiers during the 2006 war, Ahmadinejad said the town symbolized Lebanon's defiance.
"The world should know the Zionists are mortal ... today the Lebanese nation is alive and is a role model for regional nations," the Iranian president said on the second day of a trip that highlighted the growing power of Tehran's ally Hezbollah.
Israel's Foreign Ministry said Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped from the map, was bringing a message of violence and extremism and was "transforming Lebanon into a platform for his aggressive plans against Israel."
Bint Jbeil is just 4 km (2.5 miles) from the border and Israel's Channel 2 Television said echoes of Ahmadinejad's welcoming ceremony were audible on the Israeli side minutes before he arrived.
"I announce that Bint Jbeil is alive and is standing. The world should know that Bint Jbeil is proud and will stand against the enemies till the end," Ahmadinejad said.
He also visited Qana, where 106 Lebanese civilians were killed in 1996 when Israeli aircraft struck a base run by United Nations peacekeepers in which villagers had sought shelter. "You are victorious and your enemies are defeated," Ahmadinejad said.
"You will stay and your enemies, who are the enemies of humanity, are on their way to demise and annihilation. You are honored and your Zionist enemies are humiliated and weak."
In a symbolic move, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose to respond to Ahmadinejad from the hall in Tel Aviv where Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared the creation of Israel in 1948.
"We heard today the cursing and the language of contempt from the Lebanon border," Netanyahu said at the Land of Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. "...We will continue to build our country and we will know very well how to defend it."
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