Nasrallah: 'Even I Don't Know Where My Hideout Is Located'

Yoav Stern
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Yoav Stern

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview published yesterday in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir that his organization would remain armed and reserve its right to attack Israel at Shaba Farms, but stressed he would not rush to do so.

"We are coming out of a war now and are not in a hurry to carry out actions at the farms, but this is our right and nobody is entitled to give the Israelis security guarantees gratis," Nasrallah said.

He underscored that Hezbollah would keep its missiles but not use them, as it did during the decade preceding the war. "They will be used only when there is a wide-scale military assault on Lebanon," he said.

The interview lasted five hours and took place in a modest apartment in an undisclosed location in Lebanon. Nasrallah told his interviewers, Talal Salman and Hussein Ayoub, that he himself does not know his whereabouts. "I'm like you. I've been moved up and down dozens of times. I don't know the place where I am now with you," h e said.

Ayoub wrote that Nasrallah spent the war in an operations room that held the nerve center for communicating with Hezbollah's forces. From there he could monitor television and newspapers, including the Hebrew-language press.

Ayoub also wrote Nasrallah showed signs of "distress, sadness and depression." Salman wrote that Nasrallah is carrying a heavy load: "The victor is besieged by the burden of his victory, and it is heavy."

Nasrallah, Salman wrote, is afraid of several intelligence agencies, including Israeli and Arab ones, that are pursuing him.

According to the report, the entire Hezbollah chain of command suffered no damage.

Nasrallah could communicate from his command center with the operations room in the south, and in one instance even spoke with a fighter in Aita Shaab, near the border with Israel, who offered to let him hear the screams of wounded Israeli soldiers.

Nasrallah repeated his claim that the Israeli army was defeated in South Lebanon. "Olmert says he achieved something because he put me in a bunker. All the objectives of the war amounted to my being in a bunker," he said.

He added that he knows Olmert is making use of his statement that Hezbollah would not have kidnapped the two soldiers had it known this would result in war. "I don't mind that Olmert is benefiting from this. If we have to choose between a foolish prime minister and another who is strong and capable, we prefer that the fool remain," he said.