Nasrallah Makes Rare TV Appearance to Deny Rumors He's Ill With Cancer

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah denies he was flown to Iran for treatment: 'The rumors are additional proof of the propaganda war being waged against us.'

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah gave a rare televised speech on Wednesday in which he refuted recent rumors claiming he has cancer.

Nasrallah denounced the rumors as propaganda. "I was not planning to show up tonight, but the malicious rumors being spread in recent days, and the outpouring of concern for my wellbeing prompted me to present myself to you, and to talk directly, to refute the rumors, that are another proof of the incitement and the propaganda being directed against us," he said.

On Tuesday morning, a Lebanese radio station affiliated with the country's political opposition broadcast claiming the militant leader was ill and had been flown to Iran for medical treatment.

Hezbollah spokesmen on Tuesday categorically denied the report.

A senior Lebanese journalist told Haaretz on Wednesday that if the report was true, it would have made the front pages of all the major newspapers in the country, which it did not. "All of the information reaching us indicates categorically that the [report] is not true," he said, noting that Nasrallah had spoken several days earlier as well and did not look at all sick.

Nasrallah, who spoke softly and projected calm, said his organization's efforts were focused on preparing for an Israeli attack.

Nasrallah also responded to claims by the Free Syrian Army on Wednesday that his deputy, Naim Qasim, had been seriously wounded when a convoy he was travelling in with senior Syrian army officials was attacked, calling them unfounded rumors and lies.

A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army said two more senior Hezbollah officials, who were in the same vehicle as Qasim, were also wounded in the attack.

His speech focused mainly on internal Lebanese political issues, particularly on what he called an attempt by elements inside and outside the country to cause in internal confrontation between its Sunni and Shi'a Muslims.