After Shaky Speech, Israel Believes Hezbollah's Nasrallah Has Contracted COVID-19

Nasrallah's speech was periodically interrupted by coughing fits, while his breathing appeared labored and he spoke in a soft voice

Yaniv Kubovich
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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks on TV, earlier this month.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks on TV, earlier this month.Credit: Screenshot/Al Mayadeen
Yaniv Kubovich

Israel's security establishment believes that Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has contracted COVID-19, following a speech by the leader on Tuesday, during which he coughed repeatedly and appeared to be having trouble breathing.

Israeli officials believe that Nasrallah's ill health is the reason he has refrained from speaking publicly or giving interviews in recent months.

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On Tuesday, in a speech marking the anniversary of the Israeli army's retreat from Lebanon, Nasrallah declared that Israel's aggressiveness in Jerusalem's holy sites would lead to a civil war in which there are "no red lines."

Nasrallah praised Hamas for its stance against Israel and added that the last round of fighting "brought life back to the Palestinian issue."

Nasrallah's speech was periodically interrupted by coughing fits, while his breathing appeared labored, and he spoke softly.

The Israeli army is of the opinion that Nasrallah erred in making the speech, with his apparent physical weakness belying the message of deterrence he sought to convey.

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