Nasrallah Warns Israel: Retaliation for Kuntar's Death Is Inevitable

Hezbollah chief says Israelis should brace themselves; Israel has not confirmed it was behind the air strike that killed the prominent militant.

Samir Kuntar and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, at a stadium in Beirut's southern suburbs, July 16, 2008.
AFP

REUTERS - The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah group said on Sunday that Israel miscalculated by killing prominent militant Samir Kuntar in Syria last week, saying that retaliation for his death was inevitable, whatever the consequences.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, speaking in a ceremony to mark a week since Kuntar's death in a strike in a residential quarter of Damascus, said Israelis should brace themselves for a response either inside or outside Israel.

"The Israelis should be justifiably worried... They should be worried along the border, inside (Israel) and outside," he said.

A Lebanese Shi'ite woman weeps as she holds a portrait of Hezbollah high-profile militant Samir Kuntar, December 21, 2015.
AP

"The response is coming no matter what ... We cannot forgive the shedding of our mujahideen blood by the Zionists ... anywhere in the world," he said. Israel has welcomed Kuntar's death, but has not confirmed it carried out the air strike that killed him.

Kuntar was jailed in Israel for his part in a 1979 raid in Israel that killed four people when he was a member of a Palestinian militant group. Kuntar was repatriated to Lebanon in 2008 in a prisoner swap with Hezbollah, which he then joined.

Nasrallah for the first time acknowledged that Kuntar had played a key role in creating a "popular resistance" in Syria against what he said were Israeli designs on the Syrian Golan Heights. Hezbollah is fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad in Syria's civil war.

Syrian state media said Kuntar was involved in a major offensive earlier this year in Quneitra, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Kuntar's growing military role in the strategic area had unnerved Israel, Nasrallah said.