The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has praised the recent downing of an Israeli F-16 fighter jet by the Syrian air defense systems as a “very big military achievement.”

“Syrian movement has decided to repel Israel’s aerial assaults. The decision to shoot down the plane was taken by the Syrian leadership and President Bashar al-Assad. Those who executed the order were the officers and soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addressing his supporters via a televised speech from the capital Beirut on Friday evening.

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri says Syria’s downing of an Israeli warplane will create new rules of engagement in the region.

Nasrallah further noted that Israel launched the row with Lebanon over Block 9 on the account that the offshore oil and gas field, which lies in Mediterranean waters, is a boon to the Zionist regime.

“Our dispute with Israel over energy reserves could not be simply explained as an economic issue. Israel is making use of the energy issue in order to receive the US green light to annex occupied Golan Heights since there are reports about huge quantities of oil there,” he pointed out.

The Hezbollah secretary general went on to say that numerous reports have confirmed “significant” quantities of oil and gas inside Syria, and that is one of the main reasons behind foreign-backed militancy and the presence of US military forces in the war-ravaged Arab country.

Lebanon’s energy minister says there would be full exploration in an offshore energy block in waters disputed by Israel.

“The US military has occupied the eastern side of the Euphrates River since Syria’s most important oil and gas fields are located there,” Nasrallah highlighted.

The Hezbollah chief said US President Donald Trump is a businessman-turned-political leader and views Iraq as a “big barrel of oil.”

“Offshore oil and gas reserves in the Mediterranean Sea belong to Lebanon, and they are the most important source of income for the country,” Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah added that the Lebanese government needed to take a “firm and strong” position on disputes with Israel, emphasizing that his resistance movement was ready to act if necessary.

Secretary General of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, is seen on a video screen as he addresses his supporters in Beirut, Lebanon, on February 16, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

He said Lebanese officials must demand concessions from the US on the border dispute in return for “convincing Hezbollah to hold back from attacking Israel.”

“Resistance is Lebanon’s sole trump card in the oil and gas battle with Israel,” Nasrallah commented.

The Hezbollah chief then warned Lebanese politicians against US administration’s mediating role in the dispute with Israel over offshore gas drilling rights, stressing that Washington is not an honest broker.

“Americans did not come to Lebanon to resolve the issue. They were here to defend Israel’s rights and issue threats to Lebanese politicians,” Nasrallah pointed out.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah described assassination operation against Mohammed Hamdan, a member of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon as a violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty, warning that intelligence reports have pointed to Tel Aviv regime’s efforts to target more individuals in Lebanon.

A report has revealed that two Israeli agents were behind the car bombing targeting Hamas official Mohammed Hamdan in Lebanon earlier this month.

Commenting on the 39th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Nasrallah said Tehran has never interfered in the domestic affairs of Lebanon.

“Iran is a country that no other country can meddle in its positions and strategies. The Islamic Republic has stood by all Arab nations, and defended their rights,” he said.

Nasrallah also pointed to the anti-regime campaign in Bahrain, saying people have continued their protests in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom despite seven years of heavy-handed crackdown.

Bahraini forces fire tear gas to break up the gatherings of protesters marking the seventh anniversary of their uprising against Al Khalifah.

“Bahrain is the only country in the world whose government strips citizens of their nationality,” the Hezbollah secretary general said.

Nasrallah also lauded Lebanon’s new election law, calling on members of the Future Movement to stay calm.

He roundly dismissed allegations that Hezbollah is seeking to gain the majority of seats in the Lebanese parliament as “nothing but mere lies.”

“Our political alliance with the Free Patriotic Movement is strong and steadfast. On the electoral level, we are free to coalesce in some areas and compete in others,” Nasrallah said.


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