Hezbollah’s missiles can strike anywhere in Israel, says militant group’s deputy chief

Hezbollah‘s second-in-command has claimed that the group’s missiles are capable of striking any position in Israel.

Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem told Iranian Arabic-language newspaper al-Vefagh that the Iran-backed Shiite militant group’s missiles served as a deterrent against Israel going to war in Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based.

According to an English translation by Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, Qassem said that all of Israel, including its capital Tel Aviv, was within the range of Hezbollah missiles.

He added that Hezbollah was not looking to start a war with Israel but would respond to any Israeli aggression with force, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Qassem’s remarks come amid heightened tensions along the Israeli-Lebanese border, where Israel has launched an effort to destroy tunnels used by Hezbollah militants to infiltrate its territory.

Lebanese Hezbollah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem speaks during an interview with AFP in Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 4, 2010.

On Saturday, Israel’s military said that soldiers opened fire at suspected Hezbollah operatives, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that Israel was “systematically and firmly” destroying Hezbollah’s tunnels.

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The Israeli crackdown on cross-border tunnels has brought renewed attention to a frontier across which Israel and Hezbollah fought a war in 2006, when Israel responded to a deadly raid on an army patrol by striking Hezbollah targets in Lebanon.

The resulting war lasted over a month and claimed over 1,300 lives.

— With a file from Reuters

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